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Old May 13th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Default Catching up on Alexandria

NCL Virtual Report
May 12 Alexandria, Egypt

You’re going to have to excuse some of my ramblings, grammar and spelling mistakes along the way. I’m writing these reports at the end of the day. In some cases that means VERY late, and with many port days in a row, occasionally the lateness of the hour doesn’t find mind working very well.

Guess that’s a hazard of attempting actual “live? reports.

Just before I talk about our day yesterday in Alexandria, I wanted to back track to relate a story about an incident that occurred during our bus ride back from Cairo the night prior.

As described earlier we were at the tail end of a very long day, and the bus seating was quite cramped. After about 2 ½ hrs of sitting in cramped quarters and trying to nap a bit, I just had to stand and stretch out my back. I stood up in the aisle way, and did a few stretching exercises. Less than 5 minutes had passed and the woman in the seat behind me tapped me on the back and asked me to sit down, as she couldn’t see anything. This could have been very understandable EXCEPT we were in the desert between Cairo and Alexandria, and IT WAS NIGHT TIME, and DARK.

Even my overly mild-mannered Mrs. Kuki couldn’t bit her tongue. She turned to hear and said: What the heck can you see? It’s DARK OUTSIDE! From the configuration of the seating, when I sat down, I noticed that one would have to lean well into the aisle even to get a view of the front window of the bus, and the darkness of the highway in front of us. I guess it’s true; there’s no limit to how dumb people can get.

OK…I’ve vented. Now it’s time to move on to discuss our day in Alexandria. As I stated already Alexandria is aesthetically a prettier city than Cairo, with some more well maintained buildings in tourist areas, but as we drove those streets, if you looked up any of the side streets, there was plenty of squalor evident. It was evident the life of an average Egyptian is not an easy one.

We visited a part of the beach area that is considered public beaches, though everyone must pay a small fee to for use of the facilities at these beaches the costs are minimal.

After the stop at the beach, we were taken through what was originally created as the Royal Gardens and two palaces. These used to be for the exclusive use of the Royal family. Now one of the Palaces, called the Harem Like (spelling???), is still used for dignitaries visiting (we were told the King of Sudan was in residence the day we visited). The other palace is now very high end hotel. Visitor, other than guests in the hotel are discouraged from visiting, by a cover charge to enter the premises. We didn’t pay it!

As the King of Sudan was in residence at the Harem Lik Palac oe, the palace was surrounded by armed guards, and for some strange reason those on tour were not allowed to stand on the narrow sidewalks surrounding the Palace; those who tried were chased off by the President Guard.

From the Palaces our tour took us to the Alexandria National Museum, featuring some interesting artifacts, and we got some brief descriptions of the history of the area.

After about an hour at the Museum, our buses headed over for us to visit the Catacombs. The Catacombs were the only place that photography or video was strictly forbidden. Therefore I got no photographs. Of course there people on our tour who knew the rules didn’t apply to them, and snuck their cameras in. I guess it didn’t matter to them if they were insulting the customs of the country they were visiting and the dead resting in the catacombs.

This was the last stop on the tour and we were returned to the ship. There’s a small row of kiosk style shops at the pier, but the prices here were about double that of the hucksters and shops near the earlier visits.

Interestingly, on the day we arrived in Egypt the buffet self service systems on the ship were changed. One could no longer help themselves to anything at the buffet. Staff sprayed everyone entering any dining venue with sanitizer, and staff also handed out everything - from plates and napkins, to glasses and cups. They also served all food evens at all the stations; even filling ice cream cones, and coffee, teas or juices.

At first I suspected there may be an outbreak of Noro Virus onboard, but talking to some senior staff later I learned that this was being done as a routine because of previous NCL ship visits to Egypt.

There must have been a psychological influence, because after returning from our day in Alexandria I did not feel well, and I was showing early signs of gastrointestinal problems. So much so that I decided to skip our dinner reservations at Chin Chin, the ship’s Asian restaurant. I stayed in the cabin, and laid down in bed, to see what, if anything, would develop. Fortunately it was just a case of my mind playing tricks on me, and after a nap I miraculously recovered. Unfortunately I missed out on an apparently sensationally meal at Chin Chin (a $10 cover charge - with apparently huge portions).

In an effort to “catch up? on this daily report, I am presently sitting on the pool deck, by the Sky High Bar, where I just finished watching last night’s magician, do a “Houdini like? escape trick in the ship’s pool…. Which was very unusual and entertaining. I shot some video, which we can hopefully share with you at a later date.

Now it’s time to quit typing, and go enjoy some time in the sun! We have reservations for this dinner this evening in Le Bistro, again, to celebrate Mothers Day. BTW…. Happy Mother’s Day to all the CruiseMates Mothers.

I’ll be loading pictures of Alexandria in the galleries later this evening if you want to get more of the visual picture.
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