Writing this post many months later, I’m still impressed we popped in and out of Yemen with such ease. Shortly after we left, I saw reports online of foreigners being deported on arrival. And now you would be hard pressed to even have a visa issued.
I also just read that Somali pirates are taking advantage of the Yemeni disorder to leverage Socotra as a refueling point. Oy. It’s going to be a long time before Westerners are going to be back on Socotra with ease, so we definitely count our lucky stars that our trip went so well there.
As a counterbalance to the Socotri primitiveness, we booked some nice accommodations in modern Cairo. Our first night was at the newly remodeled Le Meridien Pyramids—a great deal with Starwood points. We arrived very late at night, but this was our view from bed upon wakeup:
We woke up early to hit the Pyramids shortly after the gates opened. Before heading out we grabbed breakfast in the hotel restaurant where there was one other table occupied by tourists. This was just a few weeks after the Mubarak departure, and during that time the vast majority of travelers had cancelled their plans.
Our patience in deciding whether to continue on with our trip as planned paid off—we could count the number of other tourists at the Pyramids on our hands. You won’t see a lot of people in these photos (though picture taking wasn’t a big priority for me on this leg as the pyramids are pretty well documented!):
Also on the grounds is the Khufu ship—it’s a separate entrance fee but totally worth it.
Before heading off the site, we grabbed one self portrait:
We always talked about visiting the Pyramids, but were always turned off by the potential crowds. So shout out to the Egyptians for dumping Mubarak, and everyone who cancelled their trips in the wake of!
For the second half of the day, we’d arranged for a taxi to head south to some lesser visited pyramids. We really were the only tourists at a couple of these sites. For lunch snacks there was an excellent gas station / mini mart along the walk back to the Le Meridien where we stocked up on water, sandwiches, and strange flavors of Lays potato chips. Despite our airplane and hotel preferences, our other tastes can be quite simple.
Here’s Saqqara and its scaffolding:
Then there’s the Red Pyramid at Dahshur which we actually went inside of. I was sore for a few days after climbing up and down the little ladder/steps with my camera backpack on my front—it was brutal. But as I was completely alone inside (Lillie was eager to get out ASAP), I quickly snapped a photo against the rules.
And the other part of Dashur is the Bent Pyramid:
And that’s how you spend a full day looking at pyramids around Cairo! Big shout out to Blue Cab Taxi—they had fixed/affordable prices, nice cars, and were responsive via email/phone. We used them for both our airport transfers and our day trip to these southern Pyramids.
I’ll have one final post on this trip, then we’ll be ready to move onto other things…