Guest Post by James: Egypt


For something a little different, in the next few posts I’m going to share (with his permission) what 8-year-old James wrote in his private blog. My Instagram posts appear below James’ writing.

After weeks of safaris, fancy lodges, national parks, and gentle but wild animals, we needed a little bit of chaos! We flew from Entebbe, Uganda to Cairo, Egypt. Rather than dodging monkeys on the streets, we dodged motorcycles and street vendors. Our favorite street vendor in Cairo was a guy selling sushi on his bike! Rules of the road did not exist and our cab once drove across a sidewalk to make a U-turn, and walking across streets was almost impossible.

In Cairo, we stayed at a massive, amazing apartment, mostly because we all had our own rooms (mom edit: and a washing machine!) Besides the huge living room with a the huge TV (where we watched Gorillas in the Mist), I loved the second-floor deck that overlooked the (busy, busy) street. On our first day, Dad bought too many donuts and we ate them on the deck; we snacked on those donuts for days. Other than the pyramids at Giza (I wrote a post about that already), we went to the Egyptian Museum, where we saw King Tut’s golden burial mask and a bunch of mummies.

After a few days in Cairo, I took my first overnight train (1st class!) to Aswan, a lovely city on the Nile and home to many Egyptian archeological sites. On the train, I also discovered my love of spagetti-rice: rice cooked with bay leaves and vermicelli noodles. We arrived very early in the morning and walked 2 kilometers with our heavy backpacks and had to take a ferry across the Nile River to get to our hotel on Elephantine Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its Nubian villages. While I did homework, Mom and Dad walked to the museum and some ancient Egyptian ruins. We also took a ferry to see the ancient city of Philae, which is an island with a bunch of temples. We saw a square where people discussed politics in ancient Egyptian times.

The main reason we visited Aswan was because it was the only way to see Abu Shimel, the Tomb of Ramses II. We had to leave at 4 am for a 3.5-4 hour drive to Abu Shimel. It is a complex made up of two temples and was HUGE. The Egyptians, in 1968, had to move the entire complex away from its original spot to the current location because of water rising in Lake Nasser. Lake Nasser is also the largest artificial lake the world. Because of the heat, we could stay for 2 hours and we had to drive 3.5-4 hours back to Aswan.

outside the temple

The next day, we took a 3-4 hour train to Luxor, Egypt and then another public ferry to our hotel on the other side of the Nile. We visited Valley of the Kings and saw three tombs, but it was also very hot. On our last day, we saw Luxor Temple, but it was at the end of our time in Egypt so we didn’t really care anymore.

After Luxor, we took a 10 hour train back to Cairo, but it was delayed for 5 hours so it was longer than we hoped.

He’s great, right? Karen helped some with the editing, but the content is all his. Here are my Instagram posts from Egypt along with a country counter at the end:

Country counter after Egypt:

  • 27th country of our trip
  • Me: 66 countries (including 38 eating McDonald’s)
  • Karen: 66 countries
  • Henry: 40 countries
  • Charlie: 36 countries
  • James: 33 countries