Our band performed once again as we approached Egypt. This was filmed while they played "Magic Carpet Ride," a song that was popular before all of these guys were born! On organ (left) is Galen Hollins and on bass is Sailesh Katara (right), two students in my Human-Computer Interaction class. The singer is Scott Levinson.
Our first look of Egypt off the port side was similar to our first look of most ports, except that we were surrounded by land rather than only having land on one side. Off the starboard side was Gaza.
To begin our bus ride to Cairo, we had to get on tenders (small boats) that took us to the bank of 18 buses stationed at the SOUTH entrance to the Suez Canal (see the last photo description below to see where we got back on the ship). Ten tenders transported about 12-15 passengers at a time, so it took an hour and a half to move all 600+ to the shore.
Our time in Egypt was so limited that I needed to do much of the picture-taking of the area around Cairo (the next few shots) from a bus in motion. On the way to the evening light and sound show at the Pyramids, we saw interesting structures near a cemetery city called the "City of the Dead." This impoverished community cannot afford housing, so they live among the structures of a cemetery.
Some kids from the City of the Dead wave at our bus as we move past them.
Other interesting sights included this cart transporting cauliflower toward Cairo.
There were attractive views of Cairo, even through the window of the bus in motion.
After having a 4:00 PM lunch, we just made it to a 6:30 PM sound and light show. The sound and light show included a "voice" from the Sphinx, saying such things as "I saw Cleopatra, Napoleon,..." and others. It was inspirational to imagine those figures standing in about the same spot looking at this same face!
After a 9 PM check-in to the Cairo Marriot, and dinner, we went to bed in anticipation of a 4:30 AM wake-up call. This early call was to enable a view of the Pyramids at sunrise. Here's the very first view of the sun peeking through.
These next few could be an interesting study in cropping and retouching... Sunrise was very picturesque, with the haze, the color, and the Bedoins on Camels. But the students overpowered the shot... I cropped off the row on the bottom to strengthen the composition...
...and then thought: "Why not get rid of some of the remaining sillouettes?" So I erased all but these two...
...and then finally got rid of them, too! I also did a few others where I left the people at the extreme right but erased all others, but this is already too much space for this much detail!
We absolutely loved seeing the Pyramids. They were more interesting, picturesque, and significant-feeling than I expected. Here we are, overwhelmed with the experience.
Here's Lauren pretending to hold one of the Pyramids in her hand.
And of course, the obvious joke is to act like one of the Bangles. Hey John Jackson, imagine lead singer Susanna Hoffs on this rock too! Besides Lauren and Christy, In this photo are the ship's computer czar, Joyce Binam (left) and Marvel Harrison (top). Marvel is one of the ship's mental health counselors and a celebrated author, rolled into one!
It was hard to resist hamming it up for the camera! Without the cameras and camcorder around my neck, I would have too!
The kids were equally impressed. Here they are, posing with one of the students, Troy Smith.
Walking around was delightful!
Lauren and Christy took a camel ride. This is especially for "daughter Dianna!" We wish that we could have taken a live camel home for you, Dianna, but we couldn't fulfill your request!
Here's Lauren introducing the concept of Peebles School (in Pittsburgh's North Allegheny School District) to the Pyramids. A big hello to Mrs. Bosack and the entire fourth grade!
Here's a classic pose--the Sphinx and two of the Pyramids.
Christy and Lauren pose, too, while I take the shot across the street. The only one who didn't smile very much is the Sphinx.
Well, maybe I detect a smile of sorts after all!
As the bus raced by a McDonald's restaurant, I managed to get three relatively clear video frames. You should see how blurred and smeared the others are!
Our PhD program alum (about 1992), Dr. Dina Rateb, poses in front of the wonderful Antiquities Museum (where we saw King Tut's treasures displayed) just before we had to take off on the buses back to the ship. We had a margin of 5 minutes until dock time would have been imposed! She had just walked us from her faculty office at American University in Cairo where I managed to upload my Chennai files while sipping on a delicious glass of lemon juice. She's a dear, sweet person and it was great to see her even for only an hour.
Returning to the ship, now stationed NORTH of the Suez Canal (see the third photo from the top), was a very interesting experience. Some students, faculty, and staff alike were able to shop for more Egyptian items while waiting for passports to clear. Dinner awaited us upon our 9:15 PM return.

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Photos copyright 1999, Dennis F. Galletta