Joined April 2018 Message
  • Day39

    Last episode - back in Oz

    October 30, 2022 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    On the last day in KL we spent the morning at the National Museum which was an interesting historical account of how Malaysia came about…good to know the history…anyway that filled in the time till we left to the airport and got the short flight to Singapore. Then had a few hours lay over till the Sydney flight, but Amr managed to get us into a lounge, and we ate and had wine - just as well as our flight didn’t leave till 00.45am!! One good thing was that we miraculously had bulkhead seats - and no baby next to us!! Perfect…we could come and go as we pleased without disturbance to each other or anyone. There was a baby - or noisy toddler - in the row behind…but that happens. My entertainment screen didn’t work…they kept trying to reboot it with no success, and were terribly apologetic and gave me a gift voucher for $75! I didn’t mind it not working as didn’t want to watch anything at that time…tried to sleep, not all that successfully, and read my kindle.

    Anyway, back to home sweet home, and all is well. Went to a yin yoga class at 6.15 and kept falling asleep….it is cold (I am delighted), but am wearing my fluffy dressing gown…global warming for you! The end.
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    Traveler

    6:15 Yoga - Impresssive. Welcome Home.

    10/30/22Reply
     
  • Day37

    Another day in KL

    October 28, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 26 °C

    This will probably be the last entry before arriving home. Not a big day, and so far no rain…very unusual…we got a “grab” - what they call Uber - to the Central Market which sounded good and fun, but wasn’t particularly exciting. Just shops of clothes, knickknacks, and a food hall. And the same for nearby Chinatown…just the usual shops and rather run down. So after a wander around (I did buy some colourful loose pants to lounge round in in summer..) we came back and relaxed at the hotel till we were picked up by the ambassadorial car to have a last visit (for Amr and me - Omnia is staying on for a few more days) to Ragai and Ahmed. We had an early dinner at about 4.30 to fit in with Ragai’s engagements which was good, and the most delicious Egyptian food (and not too much!!)..just perfect. And it was the first time we had been there in daylight - the view of the huge buildings nearby, and over to the mountains in the distance look completely different, and very impressive. Night makes all the lights pretty, but you can’t see any details.

    So now back early and can leisurely pack etc. We don’t leave till tomorrow afternoon and I think in the morning we will get a grab to the National museum- apparently interesting, and will be air-conditioned!! I think we are ready to come home.
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    Traveler

    Safe travels - see you soon ✈️✈️

    10/28/22Reply
    Traveler

    What an extraordinary adventure.

    10/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    Safe journey home.

    10/29/22Reply
     
  • Day36

    Finally a KL report!

    October 27, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 26 °C

    Had a good sleep last night and this morning felt ready to face the world, and we are now just back from the day’s adventures. But first our trip here…our first leg - the 3 hour flight from Cairo to Dubai was sort of hilarious…I think the passengers were about 98% men, and you’d think it was a party…they were all talking and wandering round - had to be told to sit down so we could leave…otherwise uneventful…then Dubai - Amr managed to get us entry to a lounge which was good as we had a 5 hour wait. Decided to eat dinner then and not on the plane as it was late and the food was good (had a very tasty butter chicken). Then on Singapore airlines for 7.5 hour flight to Singapore - just had a glass of wine and no more food, planning to have breakfast …but sadly didn’t sleep well, and when they were preparing for landing realised we didn’t get breakfast! Then we had to dash to another terminal at the enormous Changi airport, as only an hour to get there…less by the time we emerged from the plane…we just made it and had the 35 minute actual flight (they allow an hour for all the fiddling and taxiing etc) and arrived at KL at 9.30 am, the same time that Omnia arrived on a direct flight from Cairo leaving way after us…so we got a car to the hotel and sort of collapsed.

    Amr went out hunter gathering and brought back some soup with an assortment of noodles and vegetables and fish balls, which kept us going until 6 o’clock when we were picked up by car and taken to Ragai’s apartment, which is the residence of the ambassador and extremely lovely. It is on the 32nd floor of a tower building…in fact it is the whole floor. Ragai was very glad to see his cousins as he is probably a bit lonely at the moment - his wife Saha (where we had dinner a few nights ago in Cairo) is currently in Cairo while their daughter finishes her university year. But their delightful son Ahmed is here in KL starting university. So amazing to see him. He was a baby under 2 when we saw him in Cairo in 2006, and now is tall and skinny - makes Amr look short! And the funny thing is that they bonded about watches…Ahmed is about as fanatical as Amr!! We were served a beautiful Egyptian dinner - there is a chef, and 2 girls serving and filling our glasses - not wine! - with delicious guava juice. As always, much more food than I could eat - even the others could not finish everything, but really delicious. By 9 we were visibly drooping (I was anyway) and we were driven back.

    Well that was yesterday, and now I must remember today. We left at about 9 and got a taxi to the bird park - a famous and beautiful park with wonderful exotic birds. It is very tropical and lush and there is a net over the area, but it is so high and invisible it doesn’t seem caged at all. Many peacocks roaming around, often showing off their tail feathers. A lovely walk round there. We had been advised to go early as when it gets hotter the birds take cover and you don’t see them so well. Then we went on to see the Islamic Arts Museum which is conveniently nearby. We asked the man at the bird park how to get there and he said too far to walk, you need to get a taxi, but we assured him we were walkers and he pointed us the way, and we found it was barely a kilometre! And downhill! I think Malaysians don’t walk much because it is so hot and humid, but a little is fine, and then we were in the A/C of the museum - at a very comfortable temperature…so often A/C is too cold.

    The museum was beautiful- Islamic art is so satisfying to look at with the geometric patterns and designs, and the calligraphy. (Think of the ceramic tiles at Isnik Paul - if you can remember that far back to 1991). We tried to visit the mosque also nearby, and is a landmark for visitors, but not at prayer time which it was, so Omnia could go in, but Amr and I couldn’t, so we happily waited in the seats outside.

    Then the adventure of getting home started. We knew there was a metro equivalent station nearby, and we asked the mosque lady how to find it…she explained but as usual it is never as simple as it sounds. We could see sort of where we needed to be, but we had to cross a very busy road, and unlike Cairo pedestrians can’t just walk into the traffic and wend their way through the cars! She had mentioned an underpass which we finally sighted, but then found it was shut…so we braved the road, one side at a time, and then still had trouble getting to an actual station. To complicate it, there is also a train line above ground (but that was not the right one for us)…after much round and round walking we did find the right line and station, and Amr managed the ticket machines which gave us plastic tokens. But these magically worked on the reader and in we went, and successfully went on the right line in the right direction!! Getting out we had to find an exit with a slot to put in the token…didn’t work on the reader this time as they wanted the tokens back…

    Then the next feat was to find the hotel…we knew we were very close, but not close enough to see anything familiar…thank goodness at this point there was a big pedestrian crossing with lights and a countdown! KL is quite organised, and the traffic orderly - they stay in lanes, signal directions, stop at red lights etc, but it is not very pedestrian friendly. Maybe just because people don’t walk much. It does not feel seething with people either…maybe that is just after Cairo? The metro (MRT) was quite busy and full at mid afternoon. Anyway, after much fiddling and wondering Amr got us back - he sort of remembered from his venture out yesterday. And we were lucky it hadn’t had the afternoon downpour yet. It rains every afternoon usually after 3. So Amr and I had a late lunch at the restaurant he got the soup from yesterday…you just get a bowl and choose from the assortment of vegetables, noodles, tofu, fish balls, bits and pieces with tongs and give it to the man and he takes it and puts broth in it…very yummy! I knew not to have laksa as Amr had that broth yesterday and while I love spicy, it was just too hot for comfort. And we were very lucky - while we were eating the rain poured down, drenching if you were caught in it. And it had virtually stopped by the time we just to cross the road to get to the hotel.

    So now back and relaxing for a couple of hours. Amr is swimming which is his relaxation. At 8 we are being picked up again to have dinner with Ragai. He has ambassadorial duties till then, and promises it will be a light late dinner…I’m not sure that Egyptians understand light!

    So that is an enormous double report, and I will add pics of birds and Islamic art.
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    Traveler

    The bird park sounds lovely

    10/27/22Reply
    Traveler

    Wow! The birds are incredible

    10/27/22Reply
     
  • Day35

    Kuala Lumpur

    October 26, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 24 °C

    We are here…arrived this morning after our 3 flights (that was because it was a Singapore airlines ticket…much simpler to go direct!) and are now falling asleep after dinner with Ragai the cousin. Full description tomorrow, but giving in to sleep now…Read more

    Traveler

    welcome to msia! happy holiday..

    10/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    Wow the lights are blinding!

    10/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    An Ibis? 😆

    10/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    No, a Mercure!

    10/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    Wow!

    10/29/22Reply
     
  • Day33

    Last day in Egypt

    October 24, 2022 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Not a lot to say and no photos! We walked to say hello and goodbye to a lovely elderly lady, a friend from way back of the family (we had dinner with them in 2006 with Marion and Allan, and Dave and Ann)…then on to lunch with another cousin who couldn’t come on Friday…then back to the apartment to pack as we have a 5am start to get to the airport through the Cairo traffic in time for a 9.30 flight. We take 3 flights to get to Kuala Lumpur as it’s a Singapore airlines ticket - Cairo to Dubai, Dubai to Singapore and Singapore to KL…not ideal but we will survive and arrive 9.30 am Wednesday morning KL time. At least that is only an hour behind Sydney, so should be easy coming home.Read more

    Traveler

    Safe travels! Will miss reading about Egypt 🇪🇬

    10/24/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thoroughly enjoyed the swanning down the Nile and Cairo. Thank you.

    10/24/22Reply
    Traveler

    Egypt 🇪🇬 what an adventure! Safe travels!

    10/25/22Reply
    2 more comments
     
  • Day32

    A fairly relaxed Cairo day

    October 23, 2022 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    Today was actually more relaxed. Amr and I left soon after 8 and walked to Granita, the restaurant right near the Marriott where we had dinner one night before the cruise, and today we met Amr’s friend Hesham and his American wife Carole. The last time we saw her was in New York decades ago. He lived and worked in the US for quite a while (his parents were diplomats too, so he had grown up in many countries like Amr)…and moved back to Egypt about 15 years ago but lives in one of the new settlements out of Cairo. He is funny and nice…says in the US they regard him as Egyptian, and in Egypt they regard him as American…anyway, we had a nice breakfast and chat with them, then walked over to the nearby Gezira club where Amr had a swim and I read my kindle and had one of the delicious lemon juices.

    Got back about 2 and had a leisurely afternoon. Omnia is getting the apartment ready to be left for a long spell again…covering furniture and putting ornaments etc out of dust’s way! She will be coming back to Oz, arriving a few days after us and staying for about 3 weeks - spending almost a week of that time in Melbourne. Amr tonight has gone to a reunion of his high school class. Apparently they meet up (the ones still in Cairo) fairly often - it isn’t a special annual event or anything, but he may see people he hasn’t seen for over 50 years!!

    No photos of today. I will add one with Hesham and Carole, but they are on Amr’s phone and I can’t get it yet. And I did manage to fiddle and delete and defuzz the photos from the high tea at Omnia’s the other night, if it’s worth looking back….will now add photos but they aren’t good…the ones of all 4 of us must have been on one of their phones…bad of Carole blinking, but all I have!! Breakfast was yum - I had a cheese and mushroom omelette (with a salad!) and yogurt and honey on the side and Amr had his favourite Egyptian dish of foul - beans with feta and harissa.
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    Traveler

    Delicious!

    10/23/22Reply
    Traveler

    Breakfast sounds perfect👌🏼

    10/25/22Reply
     
  • Day31

    Final Cairo day as a group

    October 22, 2022 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    This morning Amr and I packed our bags as we are checking out of the hotel and moving to spend the last 3 Egyptian nights with Omnia. And we all had our final group excursion…a minibus came and collected us at 9 and first drove us to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation….it is new and just excellent. (I imagine that the new Egyptian museum when it finally opens will be just as excellent)…the highlight was the Royal mummies…a whole collection of about 20 mummies of kings and queens…amazing to actually see the preserved faces of Ramses II and Hatshepsut from about 3000 years ago….and many more…many great exhibits and beautifully presented. We spent a couple of hours there and met in the café which curiously was a Brioche Dorée - a chain in France - and had delicious pastries!

    Then our bus drove us on to the Coptic area, where there are many Coptic churches and also a synagogue, though this was closed for renovation…the churches are very historic, and associated with the flight of the holy family to Egypt when escaping from Herod…the whole place had a very different atmosphere from the rest of Cairo…another world!

    We returned in the bus to the hotel by about 2.30 and suddenly realised it was time for farewell…a weird feeling after being all together for 2 weeks and sharing this whole experience!! Anyway, we made our farewells, and will all meet again back in Oz before long. Sunday everyone does their own thing - some leave late that evening as they have a 1.30am flight, and Sally and John are off spending a few days in Malta…

    We collected our bags and got a taxi to the apartment, and very soon after left for the Gezira club to meet a group of Omnia’s friends. Lovely people, and it was fun, but am feeling in need of a lot of downtime!! 2 more full days in this chaotic city, and we leave in the early hours of Tuesday to get a morning flight to KL.
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    Traveler

    How amazing those 20 mummies of kings and queens!

    10/25/22Reply
     
  • Day30

    Yet another Cairo day

    October 21, 2022 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    This morning after breakfast across the road at a café called La poire - which has THE best coffee (and even has flat white!!), even including Italy, so that is a real compliment….we all met in the lobby (actually not Sally and John) and Amr and I shepherded the herd across the road to the museum. It is just a stone’s throw from the hotel, but does entail crossing a busy road. It is Friday, which is like Sunday here, and there were many people visiting the museum, and many large groups. We felt smug to be individuals wandering round, and could dart to where there wasn’t a crowd. Arranged a meeting place and we all wandered and had a lovely time, filling in the gaps from the last visit when we went as part of the tour.

    Then we all met at 3 as Omnia invited everyone to her apartment for “high tea”, and some of her friends came too. It was lots of fun and a highly successful but the stressful part (for Amr) was getting people there and back. We are used to walking there in the past, but it is too far and difficult (with the road crossings and uneven potholed paths) for most of our friends, so amr organised 3 carloads of people….had to explain where (addresses are hard to explain here apparently, as the government changed street names which muddles Google - I think that was the problem, or some difficulty when there wasn’t an Arabic speaker in the car!). It is all an adventure, but stressful for Amr trying to make everything run smoothly.

    We all got there safe and sound, and it was lovely to see their apartment again, which we hadn’t stayed in since the early 90s. Omnia has done great renovations and it looks very good. Then we had the same procedure for getting home to the hotel…this time a complication as the first Uber with Evie, Robin, Sally and John went to the wrong Steigenberger hotel - or was on its way to it, way out near the pyramids!!! They realised something was amiss when they found themselves driving out of the city and fortunately it did get sorted out before going the whole way and they were delivered back to the city central one near Tahrir Square!! Phew…but Amr was stressed even more and once it was over we sat at the bar by the pool with Peter and Louise and had a bottle of wine. Now finally settling down and unwinding….
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    Traveler

    The statues are all so BIG!!

    10/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    I wonder if the run to the wrong hotel was done accidentally on purpose??

    10/25/22Reply
     
  • Day29

    Another Cairo day

    October 20, 2022 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    A little weary to start, but it turned into a magical day. Omnia had organised a minibus to transport us to and from the Islamic area, and a wonderful guide - a professor in Islamic medieval history and architecture. We left early - you have to pick the moment here, after the school traffic (school starts at 7am) and before the commuter traffic..Pinpoint timing, and our drive was relatively easy - i.e. not standstill gridlock. Met our guide, and she led us through such interesting buildings, with history and background that we would never have found or known. The mosques we were hoping to see were closed for renovation, but there are so many amazing buildings anyway, with beautiful Islamic decoration…a complex which was mausoleum, hospital, school…

    We stopped for a tea break at one point, and were each delivered a little pot of tea and a plate of fresh mint….just delicious! We finally ended with lunch in the same place where we ate on the tour’s Islamic market day (so we knew what we wanted to order from past experience!) and it is all amongst the bazaar shops and we did a little shopping after before getting the bus back to the hotel. Angela sadly was feeling a bit seedy and didn’t come (sad as she would have loved it)…most people have had a touch of the funny tummy, but Omnia and Amr are handing out pills, and most not too dramatic! I had a little way back, but it started in Italy, so can’t blame Egypt!! All totally fine now…

    We got back in the early afternoon and everyone did their own thing for the rest of the day. Omnia, Amr and I went to visit the wife and daughter of their cousin who we will be visiting in Kuala Lumpur next week. They are back in Cairo as the daughter is in university here in her final year. Had a wonderful home cooked meal with them and a very nice visit. We took an Uber there, and got a taxi back as it was easy to hail one…a hair raising ride - no seatbelts and we were actually speeding between intersection jams…as I said before, getting round in Cairo is a complicated and difficult business!!
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    Traveler

    Love reading your blog each morning Rosie

    10/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Driving in Egypt should have its own blog 😂

    10/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Now here we are in an Agatha Christie.

    10/21/22Reply
    Traveler

    Exquisite and straight from Naguib Mahfouz.

    10/21/22Reply
     
  • Day28

    Cairo - moved to a different hotel

    October 19, 2022 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Fairly relaxing day. This morning our official tour part ended, and we moved to a hotel in the centre of the city to be easy to get to places. In the interval between checking out, and checking in we first visited a school friend of Amr’s - also called Amr Ibrahim! - who lives in a beautiful apartment just round the corner from the Marriot. The building is one of those lovely ones built in the 1930s and right facing the Nile. It was like walking into another era with furniture from his parents - almost a museum. We had tea there and pastries, and then moved on with the second Amr as well to the Gezira Club which is very exclusive now, but Amr (both) and Omnia have been members since high school, and we went in as visitors. We sat outside under the trees and had one of the beautiful lemon juices they make, and very happily filled in the time between hotels.

    Went back to the Marriot and had a bit of a wait - Egyptian time - for the mini bus to take us and our luggage. Not a huge distance, but much too far to walk with bags - even for us! - along the very uneven footpaths and risking life and limb crossing the roads! Now we are staying in the Steigenberger for 3 nights, and then moving to stay with Omnia in her flat. The others will stay on at the hotel. Omnia has organised some excursions - tomorrow we will visit the Islamic area of Cairo, and visit some mosques not on the tourist route, and on Saturday there is a visit to the Coptic area.

    Tonight everyone did their own thing. I think people have enjoyed the Egyptian experience, and all us oldies have managed the quite strenuous activities!! But it is good to have a break…

    We had dinner with another school friend of Amr’s - Magdi - and his wife and Omnia. Quite a posh dinner in a French restaurant in a boat on the Nile. Lovely evening. Not French food as in France, but I had a beautifully cooked fillet steak, perfect medium rare. Amr and I walked there from our new hotel (the restaurant was just near the old one!!) which entailed ducking across busy roads at peak hour….I used to find this an adventure, but think I am a bit over it now…just getting around anywhere in Cairo is a battle - either you sit in traffic and take hours to get a short distance, or walk into the busy roads…Peter and Louise started off with us just for a walk, but waved us goodbye when we plunged into second lot of cars…I can understand!!
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    Traveler

    rewarding risk-taking

    10/19/22Reply
    Traveler

    Fabulous. Takes me straight back into Olivia Manning,s novels. What a treat they were to read.

    10/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Rosie, that is a gorgeous photo.

    10/20/22Reply
     

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