Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ras Sudr – Kitesurfing!!

Thanks to Leanne and Gavin, who’d been through a couple of weeks before us we knew it would be cheaper to arrive with some food and water supplies… We went all out and stocked up with quite a large supply of chocolate, muesli bars, chocolate and water (24x1.5L bottles!). 

Day One

We arrived around lunch time, dropped our bags, asked reception to sort out why we didn’t have water in our room. Then went to hit the water as it was 40 degrees and blowing 22 knots! Perfect!!

Trace passed the kite rental tests so she was all sorted to rent without lessons which was nice as we were a little worried.  By the end of the day she was blasting back and fourth and riding up wind easily.

There’s about 25 kiters here at the moment but the majority are all part of one German group that stick in one area… Luckily! As kiting through their group is like navigating a mine field!

We got back to the hotel tired and ready for a shower… Still no water, it seems water is somewhat difficult out here in the desert.  The maintenance guy showed up to take a look. He didn’t speak a word of English but somehow we got by by pointing at various bathroom items and then giving them a thumbs up or in this case it was generally a thumbs down.  He returned 5 minutes later with a miniature angle grinder and welder, he then preceded to replace a leaking section of pipe within 30 minutes, Impressive!

That evening we went into the dinning room with an open mind as we have fairly low expectations of food in Egypt now. It was possibly the largest buffet we’ve ever seen, and great food! Trace somehow managed to try one of every desert… There’s about 12!!

End of day one. Bring on 8 more!

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Day Two

Trace is getting more confident and managing the occasional turn.  Not quite as windy, only about 17 knots so standard sized kites today.  Mike’s loving the chance to try different kites and he’s already ridden 3 different types and various sizes… Favourite is confirmed as the North Vegas! 

Late that afternoon, disaster strikes… Trace charges straight onto a shallow point with lots of little rocks.  After falling forward she quite badly takes the top layer of skin off her right hand and elbow and gets a couple of small cuts on her leg.  She managed to stay quite calm considering!

We walked back with the kites to the kite centre and patched up trace with various disinfectants.  We also negotiated a two day break on kite rental in exchange for a couple of hours of lessons (they won’t do cash refunds) later in the week.

Once we got back to the hotel Trace rummaged through the medicine bag and came out with a smile… Apparently Nikki P gifted the following “medicine” which apparently fixes everything? It’s good to finally use it after carting it around the world for the last 2.5 months!

23 Egypt 013 It worked a treat, thanks Nikki P

We managed to move from our hotel room to a seaside room, great! First thing we did was check the water everywhere, check the air-con, check the fridge.  No problems here!… seems great! …

Day Three & Four

We woke up to find we have no water!  … We move again… All tests pass again, fingers crossed they stay that way!

Trace turns from a kitesurfer to a photographer… And she really got into it! By the end she was knee deep in water and Mike was practically jumping over her head! Mike rode for at least 4 hours each day… No more changing kites now though, Vegas is a definite favourite!

There’s literally hundreds of great photos and videos but it gets a little repetitive so here's a couple of the best.

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Later on day four evening, the wind picked up a bit and we were lucky enough to watch the two instructors from the large German group have a 30minute play… They both rode on 7m kites and did the kind of tricks you only expect to see on movies.  Mike’s probably going to spend the remainder of the holiday attempting to imitate them now!

Day Five

After buying a new pair of sailing gloves Trace is back into action and we both spent about 3 hours out on the water… Unfortunately the wind wasn’t as settled as previously and extremely strong… Trace was flying their smallest kite at 6m (it was depowered too!) Mike was only slightly bigger on a 7m.

Trace has booked in her lesson for tomorrow so fingers crossed the wind is good and she gets her turns sorted!

Day Six

Trace’s lesson lasted almost 2 hours and she’s beginning to get the hang of her turns.

Mike was given the photographer's roll for a bit in the afternoon once Trace had built up some confidence.

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Day 7

For the first time we had to wait for wind!! We were ready to go at 9:30am with not enough wind… Had to wait until 10:30am . . . and then it end up blowing almost 25 knots. . . It’s tuff!

Later that evening we went for a walk to the pier as the sun was setting, it was so beautiful.

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There are a lot of unfinished buildings in Egypt, below is a picture of just one unfinished hotel.  The ones they have finished, don’t really seem to be maintained… It’s all a bit odd really.

We were told that the Egyptian citizens don’t finish their homes completely, just enough so they can live in them, this is so they can get a lower tax rate for a dwelling still under construction.

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Day 8

Had to wait until 10:30 again… Trace is starting to get the bug and enforcing an early rise to “get our money’s worth”.

During the morning Mike was on camera duty for a bit, in the afternoon, it switched.

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Breaking through some chop

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Turning action sequence

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Enjoying it!!

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jump sequence 23 Egypt 713

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Day 9

Where’s the wind gone? We tried to kitesurf for a couple of hours but the wind was quite weak so we gave up at lunch time and went back to pack. 8.5 days of wind… Not bad!!


We arrived in Luxor at about 7pm on Thursday 9th September.  After dinner on the boat we hopped on the bus and drove into the Luxor town.  Here we went to El Safa bazaar Jeweller shop and after some hard bargaining walked away with a few gems.

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After the jewellery shop we headed for the bazaar markets, this was a very different experience.  Everyone yells at you as you walked down the street trying to get you into their shop and placing different scarves etc on you.

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We tried to do a little bit of bargaining for a couple of things, Trace has way too much of her Pop in her!  The story goes something like this, we approached the shop and choose our items we liked, Trace then asked the guy how much for these two.  He answers ‘250 pound” she say”30 pound”, he say what you cant be serious, she say yes I am, “30 pound”, the guy goes on as they always do and drops to 110 pound.  Trace sticks with her 30 pound. . . .  then Mike pipes up, just as the guy is about to drop more – “how about we meet in the middle, 70 pound” . . . . . we ended up ending that deal and walking on.  The guy ran after us for ages, eventually offering 30 pound. . . . .

Back to the boat by 10.30pm we watched the belly dancer, darwish dance and life music.  This was great entertainment and we really enjoyed the darwish dance, he spun for what seemed liked forever and didn’t fall over!

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We were woken up at 5am which was actually 4am!  We had to wind our clocks forward an hour because Ramadan time ended.

We headed out to Valley of the Kings, this was awesome and one of our highlights of the tour.  We were not allowed to take our camera into Valley of the Kings, so no photos here sorry guys.

23 Egypt 040 We visited the following tombs:

  • Thutmes III 18 dynasty 1500 BC
  • Seti II 19 dynasty 1209 BC
  • Ramses III 20 dynasty 1170 BC

After Valley of the Kings it was onto the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

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Then the next stop, Kom Ombo Temple

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Our final temple for the day was the Luxor Temple, by the time we were taken to this everyone was very hot and tired.

The Luxor temple did supply us with our final Cleopatra’s needle.  We has seen the other 3 on our travels New York, Paris, London.  Also during this temple visit we (the girls on the tour) had the frightful experience of being stalked by what looked like little boys with mobile camera phones.  We as a group were standing beside a temple while the guide was explaining the significance to us and the Egyptian boys started to gather in two half circles around us taking photos.

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We were back on the boat just before lunch to eat, relax, pack and soak up some sun before the overnight train to Cairo – joy!!

The overnight train to Cairo was nowhere near as bad as we had imagined!  It was comfier than the bus to be honest.  It was a long train ride, we didn’t get into Cairo until 9am after leaving at 10.30pm that night.

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We spent the day in Cairo supermarket shopping for supplies for our kite surfing trip and walking around a few streets.  Later that night we took a visit to a Papyrus paper shop were we purchase a painting of Abeul Symbol.

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The view of Cairo from the upstairs bar at our hotel

23 Egypt 008The “wonderful” view from our bedroom window. . . .something special!

It has been so hot right through Egypt reaching temperature of around 40 degrees most days, we have been going through about 6 litres of bottled water each day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We arrived in Etfo at 2.30am

At 6am we were up and jumped on a horse and chart which took us out to the temple of Etfo

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The horse and chart ride was an experience, the horses were so thin we felt so sorry for them.  We asked our guide Haney about this and he said that they keep them skinny so that people give them more tips – pretty sad really.

The temple was great but they’re all beginning to look the same… Same gods, same stories.

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Once we had finished our tour around the Etfo temple we were back on the horse and chart to the boat for breakfast.

We sailed to Luxor during the next few hours of the day.

During this journey we had to wait for a bridge to rotate and open for us to get through.  Instead of parking up slowly, the captain simply rammed the boat against the river bank. After some heated discussions with the guards and a bit of bribe money changing hands we were able to park and wait for the bridge to open. We weren’t meant to park as close as we did.  Although, as our guide explained, nothing a bit of money won’t fix.

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The narrow path past the bridge 23 Egypt 218

The bridge 23 Egypt 228  Our boat being guided through the lock

23 Egypt 237The lock opening once the water had been let out.

Once through we headed for the lock.  This was huge, our cruise boat plus one behind us both went in at the same time.  We both dropped somewhere between 7 to 9 metres.  Lots of water!

After the lock it was plain sailing to Luxor!