Our time in Egypt is over. There were some things we really liked and some things we didn’t like. The temples and pyramids were impressive, most of the local people were very kind and welcoming, and the food was tasty. However, it was extremely difficult to deal with all the vendors, hagglers, and people asking for money. Overall, the stress of this made being in Egypt difficult, and we were ready to continue our trip in Uganda.
We finished our last day in Egypt by sleeping in, having a late breakfast at the hotel, and then walking around Cairo for about an hour. Our flight didn’t leave until 10:00 that night, so we had some time to kill. Ahmed invited us to have a very late breakfast/lunch with him and his family at around 3 o’clock before we left for the airport. Ahmed slept in so his breakfast was delayed. We Ubered over to his cousin’s house where he was staying. When we arrived, the guard for the building stopped us and thought we must be in the wrong place but he didn’t speak English. So we called Ahmed and had him talk to the guard. Once everything was smoothed over the guard ushered us into the elevator and dropped us off on the correct floor.
Ahmed’s cousin’s house was very fancy with chandeliers, ornate chairs, a giant woven rug, and beaded cloths on the tables. Ahmed introduced us to several of his cousins and their families. There was a steady stream of people coming and going that we met throughout our stay.
The wife of Ahmed’s cousin who owned the house cooked us a traditional Egyptian breakfast including ful (cooked and mashed fava beans), Egyptian baba ghanoush dip (eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon) eggs, falafel, and aish baladi (Egyptian flat bread). The eggs were very fresh and were some of the best I had eaten. The baba ghanoush was also very good and had a whole grain mustard flavor.
After our late breakfast, we sat with Ahmed’s family and talked. Ahmed translated questions that his family had to English and then translated our answers back to Arabic. His family seemed to understand some English, but were definitely not fluent like Ahmed. His family asked us about about American culture, and wanted to know what we thought the similarities and differences between Americans and Egyptians were. It was a difficult question to answer, but we did our best. In reality, it is hard to say all Americans are a certain way and all Egyptians are a certain way. They said their concept of Americans was that they were very independent which we agreed with.
Then they tried to teach us some Arabic words. I did not have a very good Arabic accent and Ahmed’s family got a kick out of how I pronounced some of the words. I was unable to say fetira correctly yesterday when we had it for lunch, and Ahmed thought that was very funny, so with every new family member that came into the room, I was asked to say it in my American accent.
We also had the tv on in the background and they asked us to put on something from YouTube, so Jay showed them his Dirtbags on Skiis video. We thought that snow would be something new that they would like to see.
We also learned some cultural lessons through interacting with Ahmed and his family. When Jay asked to use the restroom, he had to wait until all of the females could leave the area to prevent a male from being alone around a female. We also learned that you are not supposed to take pictures of Muslim women.
The owners of the house also had two small children who were very cautious around us as young children tend to be. But they warmed up to us after awhile. They inched closer and closer to us each time they came back into the room, and would lock their eyes on us, looking at us like we were strange people in their house, which we were.
Another of Ahmed’s cousins arrived. We learned that he was going to be married on July 24th, and he invited us to his wedding. When we told him that we would be in Uganda, he asked us to come back to Egypt for the wedding. We were surprised that they would ask strangers to a wedding, but they were so happy for us to be in their house that I guess it made sense.
By around 6 o’clock it was time for us to head to the airport. We took several pictures with Ahmed’s family. Then, we thanked our hosts for inviting us into their home and told Ahmed to call us when he comes to American (which is a dream of his). Then we settled in for about 20 hours of travel from Cairo to Entebbe to Kampala to Kasese.
We flew from Cairo to Entebbe and arrived at around 4 o’clock am. It was interesting flying into Uganda and seeing how few lights were scattered across the hills. This is a very rural area! Then we took a taxi from Entebbe to Kampala. We already liked Uganda better than Egypt just from the short drive we had taken. It has much less traffic, the people are all friendly and welcoming, and the prices are straight forward. It is also beautiful here. Everything is green!
Our next step was to take a bus from Kampala to Kasese. The drive was long, about 7 1/2 hours, and there was no hope of sleeping. Every single seat was filled and we were crammed in shoulder to shoulder in the back. After a couple stops, some of the people got off and we moved to more comfortable seats. But the driver blared the horn to warn every single person on the road that we were coming. Plus the bus stopped at every single little town along the way. People were getting on and off the bus constantly. We were grateful to finally arrive in Kasese and headed to our hotel.
After check-in, we got some lunch at the restaurant in the hotel. Jay had goat soup and I stuck with a less adventurous option of chicken and cashews. We also had vegetarian samosas which were our favorite part.
Next we headed out to do what we do in every new town we visit – get water. We also stopped by a grocery store and picked up some snacks for the long 8 day trek we had coming up.
After dropping off our groceries at the hotel we took a quick lap around the city. We met a group of teenage boys who were very excited to see us. They were killing and de-feathering chickens. It was a little gruesome to see, especially the bowl that they were draining the blood into, but I guess that’s what you have to do to eat a chicken. We also saw a group of young children playing soccer and Jay was itching to join in, but we were tired. We didn’t really sleep the night before and needed to get home and get to bed. We had an early morning with a driver lined up to take us on some tours of Queen Elizabeth National Park.