Well, here's the overview of my trip to Egypt. We started out the first night (Sunday) in Israel, actually. We went to Tel Be'er Sheva, and then we went to Kibbutz Yotvata near Eilat, which is right on the border. A kibbutz is basically a socialist society, where they all live together and share everything and what not. It was pretty cool. The kibbutz we went to specialized in dairy farming, so we got to see all that. It was pretty boring (well not boring, just not new) for me because I had lived with that for how many years, but it was cool for other people to see what goes on, and I felt special cuz I knew all the answers to the questions she was asking. We stayed at a different Kibbutz (Eliot) for the night, which was interesting. It was just a little kitchen and a bathroom and two rooms. We had fun though. Me and some other girls played "Top 5" which is where you choose the Top 5 guys that you would date on the trip. It was pretty funny, and now it's all the rage. Look what I started. I know, I'm such a trend setter. Ha.
So the next day (Monday) was pretty boring, all we did was drive. The most exciting parts of the day were border crossing (which was actually not exciting at all, but it was something not on the bus) and when we got to Cairo and we got to see they pyramids and the Nile for the first time and stuff. We stayed at the Oasis Pyramid Hotel in Cairo, and me and some friends went out to Pyramid Street to go exploring. Well what ended up happening was that we took the taxis from the hotel and they basically had a planned route of shops they took us to, so we didn't really get to go to the places we wanted to. But we still had a good time. Cairo is quite an interesting experience. Its like the 3rd or 5th biggest city in the world (different tour guides said different things) and its all jam-packed in there, so stuff like traffic is CRAZY.
Tuesday was when the madness started. First we went to the Pyramids. Those were SO COOL. We got to go inside the 2nd biggest one (the first one was closed because they were having problems with ventilation and humidity and stuff) and I thought it was going to be really cool....it actually wasn't as great as I thought it would be. We just went into this really tiny and cramped staircase and walked for like 5 minutes and then we got up to the tomb. All it was was a big room with stone (obviously) walls and a big hole in the ground where the sarcophagus would have been. Everyone stayed in there for like one minute because it was so hot and humid you just felt like you were going to die of suffocation in there. It was crazy. So we got out and then we had about a half an hour to take pictures and stuff (or make pictures, as our tour guide put it). The crazy thing is that everywhere you go in Egypt that there could be tourists, there are people selling souvenirs and stuff. Actually, I think selling isn't a good word to describe it. I think that you can classify what they do as manipulation and trickery and guilt and just pure mean-ness to get you to buy their crap. They will have something you totally don't want, but if you look at them when they talk to you, then they will shove their stuff in your hands and then put their hands behind their back so you can't give it back and follow you for 10 minutes until you buy it. It's SO irritating and frustrating, but we all learned soon not to pay attention to them. And there are guys all over with camels and donkeys who tell you that it is free to take a picture with their animal, but once you get on and they take the picture, they won't let you go until you pay them. These guys are crazy and they lie like mad. Anyways, next we went on a camel ride! That was pretty sweet, I'd have to say. Me and Emily rode together. We were taking pictures and videos like mad. (Those and all other pictures and videos are on picasaweb.google.com/brooklynroeller in case you were wondering) Next we went to Memphis. We actually didn't get to stay that long and explore--I was kinda sad. But we did get to see this GIGANTIC statue of Ramses II. It was pretty crazy. Next we went to the Steppe Pyramid, which was built by Zoser, and it was the first of all the pyramids. We finally had lunch (at like 4 pm, we were all starving!!) and then we headed off to the train station. We took an overnight train to Luxor, which was really cool!
So we wake up at the bum-crack of dawn on Wednesday morning for another full day. We went to the Valley of the Kings and saw a whole bunch of the tombs, including that of King Tutankhamen. It was crazy because that tomb is only famous because it is the only one that we have found that wasn't robbed. In reality, King Tut was not a significant king; he ruled for about 8 or 9 years, between the ages of 9 to 18. His tomb was tiny compared to the rest and wasn't even finished, but it had SO MUCH stuff in it! We didn't get to see the stuff in the tomb (but we did see it when we went to the Cairo museum, which comes later) but I can't imagine what was in the huge tombs of Pharaohs like Ramses II and guys like that. We went to the West side of the Nile in Luxor after that, which was the side where they had the mortuary temples and stuff (symbolic because the sun sets in the west and when you die, yeah.) So we had lunch and then we had a free afternoon that we all spent napping and swimming. It was funny because the pool turned into a giant game of keep away, boys versus girls. And basically the point of the game was to touch each other and have an excuse to do it. Kinda lame but the game was fun for awhile. It has gotten old but some people are still adamant about playing it wherever we go. Anyways after that we had a faluka ride (basically a sail boat) on the Nile and we got pulled over by the "police" (we think it was a scam) because we had too many people on our boat and a guy on our boat payed them a dollar to not take our driver to jail. Pretty sketch if you ask me but it was a funny experience. But the ride was really cool. Then we went out shopping in Luxor. It was great fun.
Thursday we toured the East side of the Nile. So we took a carriage over to Karnak Temple, which was really cool. These temples that we saw that day were the ones actually used by Egyptians for worship and stuff. Its crazy because they had what some apostles have called "doctrinal debris", basically they have some keys of the gospel but not all. I guess a lot of stuff that they did (like rituals and stuff) were really similar to what we do in the temple today. (not like I would know) but it was really cool to see anyways. Then we went to Luxor Temple, which was also cool, but they can get kinda old after awhile so we were all pretty much delirious and we didn't pay too much attention to what was going on. Lunch, free afternoon, dinner, and then we went to the Luxor airport to fly from Luxor to Cairo. The flight and the airplane were not as bad as I expected.
Friday we were back in Cairo, and first we went to the Cairo Museum. It was pretty cool but we were sick of our tour guide (he was very long-winded) and so it got kinda boring. What I was really excited to see was the stuff from Tutankhamen's tomb. Pretty sweet. Then we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (which I have never been to, it was pretty good) and then we went to a Bazaar to shop. Wow that was intense. Groping is a real problem in Egypt so everyone was on their toes, especially the boys cuz they were all watching out for us girls. The guys in our group are great by the way. Anyways the bazaar was really busy and crazy but so cool. We had dinner and then we went to the Light and Sound show at the Pyramids. It was pretty cool. A little cheesy, but still a lot of fun.
Saturday we went to the Muhammed Ali Mosque and to the Old Cairo citadel. The mosque was so cool. It was beautiful. From there we drove from Cairo to Sinai. It was a long drive, but we finally made it. We had sacrament meeting after dinner (I gave a talk. It was pretty good minus the fact that everyone was practically asleep because we were all dead and we had to be ready at 1:30 am the next morning) and then we all went to bed. Wake up call at 1 am! I went to bed at like 11:20 ish so we can safely say that I didn't get too much sleep. Anyways we drove over to Mt. Sinai and we hiked it. All along the path there were men with camels and they would say "Camel? Camel? You want to ride a Camel?" with this crazy arabic accent (so it sounded like cam-el, like it was 2 words. I wish you could hear how it was) and a few people took them but I was ok with not doing it. The hike was pretty hard, but not too strenuous. When we got about 3/4 of the way up we had to start climbing these stairs. Now, keep in mind that this is at like 3 or 4 in the morning and its still dark. And these aren't even concrete stairs. These are relatively flat stones from the mountain that they strategically placed to make it easier for you to get up the mountain. Good thing I had my handy-dandy flashlight with me. But I don't know how or why Moses went up there. It was crazy. Anyways we got to the top and got to watch the sunrise. It was amazing. Something I will definitely never forget. So then we had a lesson up at the top and then we hiked down. From there we went to the hotel and most everyone took a nap, and then we drove all the way back to Jerusalem. It was so good to be home, you can't even imagine. We didn't have to worry about only ever drinking from or using bottled water, we could eat whatever we wanted, it was amazing.
But that's my overview of the trip! Sorry it was so long, but there was a lot of stuff that needed to be in there. Anyways I hope all is well wherever all of you are, I love you and have fun!