Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Travel: Siwa Oasis

An American's experiences in Egypt blog (Shane S.)

An account of a trip to Siwa, with lots of photographs (some just show people standing in front of things, on things and running around things, but there are also some great shots of archaeological sites, scenery and sunsets).

We left for Marsa Matruh from Turgoman Station around 9:45pm on Thursday night, but of course Egyptian inefficiency had to come into effect here. The bus made a stop in Giza to pick up two passengers, so we didn't actually leave Cairo until past eleven. We arrived in Marsa Matruh around 4am. Matruh is the largest Egyptian city west of Alexandria along the Mediterranean Sea coast. I didn't get to see much of it since it was early morning, but it looked to be a bustling, clean, and interesting city. When we got to the bus station in Matruh, we realized the bus to Siwa didn't leave until 8am. We were very cold and not too keen on waiting around for four hours, so we accepted a taxi driver's offer to take us to Siwa for 200 LE.

I don't remember much of the ride to Siwa since I was asleep, but our driver was pretty annoying. During the three hour drive, he smoked an entire pack of cigarettes, had several cups of tea, blasted "habibi" Arabic pop, and kept the window open the whole way to keep him awake. The road from Matruh to Siwa is nothing but desert, and with the window open, it was extremely cold.

When we arrived in Siwa, the driver brought us to a bunch of different hotels to help us find a place. We were really sick of him so we just paid him his money (along with another 50LE he requested) and had him leave.

We checked into a hotel along the main square in Siwa called Al-Kilaani. The price was 120 LE for a two-person room. It was very clean, and included breakfast and air conditioning, so it was worth the price. The management spoke a little English.

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