The day before yesterday we were informed that the US lifted the security level from Egypt to allow Americans to visit Egypt. Therefore the other 60% of the ships passengers are now allowed to go. (note the sarcasm!)
An alternate version of our previously booked tours are now available, however Gerrit and I have elected to not take the tours. Probably a bit weird, but when Egypt was initially cancelled we were extremely disappointed, however we resigned ourselves to not going. Now that it’s back on we’ve still decided to stay on board with the understanding that when we go to Europe next year 2012 we will take a week or 10 days and do Egypt right. Initially we were to spend 4-5 days in Egypt giving us a bit of time to explore the region, but with 1 day we say forget it and we’ll do it in 2012.
We have arrived early this morning around 5am and Gerrit and I have agreed to “take a day off” meaning we’ll swim in the pool and perhaps catch some rays.
The entertainment of the day was actually provided for free. Several ferries from Saudi Arabia had arrived before us. They were unloading trucks with the belongings of contract workers returning from Dubai. At first glance it was total chaos but after watching for a while it became clear how things were organized. Each person unloaded their own belongings onto one or more carts, dock workers then moved those carts to the immigration line-ups. Once cleared the carts were unloaded onto overloaded trucks. Voila, another worker returned home after 2 years away.
Port Safaga, also known as Bur Safage is a town in Egypt on the coast of the red Sea. It has numerous phosphate mines and is regarded as a top phosphates export center and a marine port connected by a regular cruise shuttle service line with Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It’s considered one of the most important therapeutic tourist centres as special medical researches have proved the potential of attracting international tourism to Safaga. The resort is reputable for its unpolluted atmosphere, black sand dunes and mineral springs which are purported to ease rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
Egypt’s east coast extends from the Gulf of Suez to the Sudanese border. The mineral rich red mountain range that forms its striking natural backdrop inspired ancient sailors to name the body of water Mare Rostrum (Red Sea). In the early years, religious souls seeking peace in seclusion established coastal Christian monasteries. The only foreign visitors were Bedouin Clans.
Of course, Egypt is known for its Pharaohs. These are entombed along what is now known as Valley of the Kings. The Queens were laid to rest in an adjacent valley. These ancients had no intention of being found by later generations, yet they left cryptic messages, apparently for Aken, the ferryman who conducted dead souls across the River Stynx. The messages still puzzle modern observers. And despite their efforts to remain hidden, in February 2006 a 63rd tomb was discovered.
The most famous tomb belongs to young Tutankhamun, who was laid to rest in a solid gold sarcophagus. Tut ruled only a few years before he died, yet the riches found in his tomb indicate a person of great power. Tutankhamun ruled from 1347-1338BC. No one is sure what killed him but he was only a teen when he died. (It is rumoured he died from a tooth abscess – but this has NOT been proven). Howard Carter discovered the chamber on November 4 1922 and he and Lord Carnarvon excavated the site the same month. Although the tomb had been looted very soon after Tut was buried, it was relatively undisturbed, suggesting the burglar may have been caught. The many riches found inside the tomb are proudly displayed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. The hoard of riches have given much knowledge about ancient life and death, and the young king has captured the imaginations of an endless stream of visitors ever since. Grave robbers long ago beat scientist to most of the other graves, many of them probably also once contained vast riches. When we are in Egypt again we are sure to visit the Valley of the Kings amongst other wonders found in Egypt.
In the end we had a super day, just relaxing on the loungers.