Tuesday, June 11, 2013


A street scene in Giza, Egypt, with a mix of the ancient, modern and everything in-between.
How did we end up in Egypt on an eight-hour layover en route to DC? 

We would have loved to stay in Africa for many more months, but it was time to go home. Briefly. 

To help pay for this trip, we had rented out our house in DC last year. But the lease was up for our awesome renters (thanks, Bob and Ali!), and so, being responsible adults (sort of), we had to get home using our few remaining frequent flyer miles to take care of some business, like filing our taxes and re-renting  our house to new and hopefully equally-responsible tenants (that means you, David and Michael!).

Considering we don't mind taking long layovers or making endless connections through out-of-the-way airports on our trip back, especially when the ticket is basically free, we began the search to see how we could best "enjoy" the trip back home. 

Our ensuing 40-hr marathon, while perhaps horrifying to a business traveler, included two scenic layovers, taking us from Uganda to Cairo to London and on to Washington. There are still advantages to booking with frequent flyer miles when you have the time.

Our first stop, flying Egypt Air, took us to Cairo. These guys know about proper layovers. Upon arrival, a representative presents you with a menu that includes options on what you want to see based on how long you have before your next flight. They handle transportation, transit visas and making sure you get back in time for your departing flight. 

We picked a tour of the Great Pyramids, with a quick stop for lunch in Giza. 

The ancient, the modern, and everything in between--that's what you get walking through Giza, the just-outside-of-Cairo town that serves as a foreground to the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

While the area immediately surrounding the well-aged structures is covered with sand (and camels and tourists), a bustling street scene with some stellar local eats is just a stone's throw away. And we just happened to be hungry.

Ever heard of "koshari?" If you've been to Egypt, chances are you have. 

The carb- and protein-loaded dish, the country's most popular fast food, comes with rice, macaroni, lentils, and chick peas topped with caramelized onions and a spicy tomato sauce, among lots of other things, depending on who's cooking (here's a recipe)

London's first koshari restaurant recently opened to rave reviews. Could be a koshari food truck opening in your hood soon.

A national pastime in Egypt--drinking sugar-dosed tea and smoking cherry-flavored tobacco from a hookah pipe. We didn't inhale, Mom, we promise. 

And so, not quite halfway through our near two-day return trip, we bid farewell to Africa. 

After an adventurous overnight in London that included chicken gyros near Paddington Station and a brief meeting with Gaia, the darling baby daughter of good friends Cecile and Augustin (thanks for the wine and the short but good night's sleep!), we headed back to Heathrow for a short stay at home before our next trip south of the border...coming soon!

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