Only two and a half days after my return from Florence , and not even missing a participation in anther mega rally (1/21/2023) of over 110K protesters, still against the Israeli extreme Gov judiciary revolution,I was back on a plane ,to Egypt this time..
At Habima Square
David and I visited in Egypt long ago, and few years only, after Israel and Egypt signed the break-through peace treaty,(1979) which till today has been a luck-warm one , However I couldn’t pass this recent opportunity , when being invited to join a friend. My dear Friend Iris kindly asked me, at a last moment notice, to join her and a group of her long time friends to a privately coordinated group trip of 11 days. Holding a US passport, made it possible for me to join on a spare of a moment as I was able to get an entrance visa, upon landing in Egypt for 25$ , Such an entry option is denied to Israeli passport holders, who are required to have the visa furnished in advance in Israel prior to departure. The trip was co-planned by a tour guide named Eli Mail - a member of Ayala Geographic - an Israeli Tour Operating Company.. Lo and behold 4 days before take off Elie - the guide who was due to accompany and guide the group on the trip, shared that he was denied an entrance visa, and a new replacement guide was frantically searched for.
Apparently, lately Egypt has denied entrance visa to many Israeli Tour Guides, for unknown reasons and despite the fact that tourism industry is the bloodline to Egypt's economic livelihood
At a zero hour, the group was notified that a replacement guide - Zvi Ledrnan another Ayala company's affiliate, was found and that he would meet the group in Cairo itself, as he had been already there, just finishing guiding a previous group.
The group was suppose to meet the replacement guide whom they never met or heard of , for the first time, only upon landing in Egypt.
Archeologist by profession, he definitely seemed promising.
Mean while during departure at BG airport another tour guide the lovely Sari Sarig who accompanied a different group, which was operated by
Beshvil Hazahav tour company, spotted our "shepherd-less lost lams" and immediately “adopted “ our members too. In addition to sharing helpful info, Sari stated that she too was contacted by our Ayala company and was asked to be our replacement, However she was unavailable, She too was aware that for strange reasons, several other tour guides were denied visas this year,
The short hour flight which departing at 7:00 pm, was smooth and uneventful.. It flew over the Egyptian Delta and landed at dark, revealing partial views from above
The ballgan - mess started at the Cairo airport, with long lines and scattered members.
The beautiful mythological Selqet Goddess statue, with a scorpion on her head, one of the underworld deity welcomed the lively incomers, at the busy arrival terminal
Eventually the Egyptian contact guide, named Peter, who welcomed the group, managed to gather all the scattered Golden Aged group members, and after frantically had sold Visa Entrance Stamps and Egyptian phone Sim cards, to all those in need, he huddled the members into the waiting bus, and vanished. An Egyptian security guard assigned by the Gov. accompanied the group on the bus ride down south, as did a police car, which drove closely to and around the bus, all the way to the hotel, ,with blinking lights and loud sirens on, shooing off any car on the way, which dared driving next to the bus.
Apparently this practice is part of a Gov policy, to provide maximum safety and security to visiting tourists.
The Mosques on the way
The replacement Israeli guide was picked up at an hotel near the airport where he departed from his previous group, and where we are due also to stay on our last night before flying back. So finally the group had a chance to meet him for the first time. 45 minutes bus drive later, and past midnight we arrived and entered through the hotel’s elaborate gate, located at New Giza's neighborhood
Cairo -the country's capital and largest city, which is located near the Nile Delta, is home to 10 million people.It is also part of the largest urban agglomeration in Africa, the Arab world and the Middle East: The Greater Cairo metropolitan area, is with a population of about 22 million.Thus it also suffers from high levels of pollution, traffic congestion and depends only on the water from the Nile which is scarce and is heavily clorinized for drinking purposes.
In an effort to reduce the overpopulated dense Cairo, the Gov has invested in a massive Real Estate development, about an hour drive outside of Cairo, incentivizing the younger populate to reluctance to modern better condition high-rises and upscale housing.
These new housing project could be seen near and all around the hotel.
Hotel we stayed at:
Helnan Dream Hotel - Giza
+20 2 21 2727 firstname.lastname@example.org
This resort Hotel & Conference center with alleged views of Giza Pyramids, hotel gardens, pools, is off the main road surrounded by a vast desolated space, but is pleasant.
To be continued....