Well, it was fun while it lasted…..

….our tans that is. They are fading fast…..who’da thunk that South Africa has WINTER? Errrr? Going from 110 F to 50 F is quite a DRASTIC SHIVERING change…. Zeee-oinks!

But back to the warmth… there is still a wee’ bit more to tell about our adventures in Egypt before we switch to the chilliness of South Africa, aye? :)

August 20th…. Well, after bragging about our "tough stomachs" the past few days we have unfortunately caught a smidgen of the "Mummy Tummy." A little Nile water must’ve slipped into one of our drinks yesterday– DAG NAB IT! Poor Ray sleeps next to me– its affecting him even worse, but mustered enough strength so we could take a walk into Maadi and fetch a few supplies for our Felucca ride tomorrow night. Felucca’s are ancient sail boats that are seen everywhere up and down the Nile. Ray is making his famous salsa…. which means I get my "salser’ fix"– even better. Ahhh– but it was so great to play my little "pretend you live here game" today as the people in the market are starting to recognize us and immediately ask if we want fish or the veg guy now knows that Ray is just going to take control of picking his own veg. (where here they always do it for you) even the "basket guy" when asking us for the 3rd time since we have been here if we want one of his special hand made baskets Ray and I in unison say "no thank you" and he smiles, waves and tells us to have a great day… hows that for denying his craft? They are such pleasent people…. its truly such a gift to be apart of!

Everyday we are being taught something new about this curious country. The lessons are all around you– its just your choice if you choose to be taught…. and we want the chalkboard- the lunchbox- the whole nine yards!
Yesterday we went into Sadat- central Cairo area to visit the Egyptian museum. After perfect instructions from Anne on how to take the metro we paid are 3 pound taxi ride (there is no meter in these cabs so you must have knowledge of how much it costs and be in control of your OWN fee) got our 1 poound tickets for our train and off we went. We were the only Westerners on that train and it was hard to forget it with the stares! But yet again, the generousity came into play as everytime an elderly muslim came into the train there would be PLENTY of others ready and willing to give up their seat. Even a woman with a small child would quickly sit on a full train. I don’t know if they get more points in heaven for voulenteering, but wow– it was something you’d never see anywhere else!
Walking out of the metro into the city was much like that of NYC or London– busy, dirty, loud and absollutely THRILLING. Found our way to the museum– okay, now this is where that "order" here that I just don’t seem to see yet. Its the "Egyptian Museum" smack dab in Cairo, right? But yet there is no air-con, descriptions of artifacts are basically hand written if even still on there at all– AND you should see all the artifacts off to the side that haven’t even been SORTED through! I must say– we had a few laughs as Ray would describe his "personal" depiction of the relics if there wasn’t any descriptions on the piece– My favorite was when he was explaining a stone with inscriptions– Ray said it looked like a kids diary… "Rode me bike down to the Pyramids again– saw a couple of sacrifices, came home– worshiped they sun god…." hee hee…. But we did see Kind Tutenkhamun’s gold mask that protected the head of the mummy which was incredible! We then took Anne and Debbie’s advice and headed toward the Hilton as the roof top was said to be on of the best views of the center– and wow, was it ever panoramic-tastic. We then walked around the city to breathe in ALL the frech air… Uh huh… right. :)
That evening the girls took us to the most amazing Korean restaurant ever– oh my– Alyssa’s tum tums was in heaven–and then of course hell later– but it didn’t matter this food was worth it all! Anne kep us up late…again… (such a party animal she is)… and here we sit now– debating where we would like to order in for the evening. I know… life is tough– but someone’s gotta do the delivering! Its pretty crazy here- EVERTYHING can be delivered– from a few bottles of water to KFC- you can even order a case of beer. Its so bizarre! But again– with 20 million people in this city, they have to find jobs for everyone… even it if means making one up.

Tuesday– the 21st… Here we sit at a location I will not disclose as its almost embarassing to say… okay, its TOTALLY rediculous that we are even here… in Egypt in all places…. Alright alright… I’ll tell you– We are at TGIF alright? Are you happy now? :) But the Nile is to our left and its actually quite peaceful here as Ray researches places in South Africa and I catch up on my journal and postcards…. Annnnnd (this ones for the Jode) they have FREE refills! Lord– I know… but after the morning we had we just needed "simple." Our big outing for the day was suppose to be going to the pool at the Mena House (Egypts most exquisite hotel) where it supposively was about 100 rand for a day pass (just about $20) but we were shocked to find out that when we got there it was 550 Rands! Yikes! We quickly called the Taxi back– tried one more hotel (600 Pounds!) and called it a day. I guess there are 2 months out of the summer where they triple the rate– and this just so happens to be month #2. Super… Oh well, we tried! But we did get to see the pyramids one last time….
That night we were able to be apart of one of the most incredible experiences yet in Egypt– the Felucca ride. What a way to end our time in Egypt. Anne and Debbie invited a few friends and new teachers– we had ourselves a spread of treats including Rays famous salsa– margaritas, beer, wine and we were off! One Egyptian man sails this small ancient boat and it is amazing to watch- they have it down to a "T." I was thinking of you Grandpa– you would have loved to be apart of this…. Love of sailboats comes directly from you! We sailed up and down the Nile– a cool breeze quickly alieved the swealtering heat of the day (110 F or so) our Ipod playing Sarah Antosh’s wedding song– the Hawaiin verson of "Over the Rainbow"- and I must say, tears stung my eyes as it is moments like these that I will forever savor. What a absolutely magical night.
Wednesday we ran our last few errands– went to lunch with Anne at Bodega’s in central Cairo (she was home sick as we gave her the "Santorini bug"– werps!) — lost my debit card and had to cancel it(don’t ask, thank goodness Ray and I have 2 sep. ones) ate our final dinner of Pizza (hey, 3 pizzas for 11 bucks, can’t go wrong!) and packed our thinks to leave for South Africa.

**** We just want to say once again how fortunate we are to have had Anne in our lives for the past week…. We have enjoyed all the laughs, converstations, experiences… and of course, oodles of booze-tastic nights together– more then she could EVER know. Such an amazing woman and we were so sad to say goodbye. Thank you again Anne– for everything you have done for Ray and I. We are going to misssss you! Can’t wait for our renunion next summer in Minnesota…. :)

Mousa took us to the airport where we then presented him our little gift of a picture frame with the picture we took of us and his family in it– (I have never been so excited to give someone a present in my life) and I think he really was touched– but we were so grateful for his generousity, and wanted to try to convey it… even if just the teeniest way back.
We then awaited our 7 hour flight to Cape Town along with an Egyptian man with his 2 wives, they are allowed to have up to 3, (Ray doesn’t see this as a plus as he couldn’t imagine having 2 Lyssrrr’s) and off we flew towards South Africa… where would our next adventure take us?

….TO THE BLOODY COLD…. THATS WHERE! Ha! Nahhhh…. its not that bad…. Actually quite nice today at about 75 F or so….
Sept. 23rd….Never the less– its quite refreshing… and Cape town was a spectacular sight– Table Mountain to our left, and the beautiful lively town to our right…. and about a ca-gillion of activities to do all around us. We had no idea all the crazy experiences we could be apart of here. Tour and activites GALORE…. Unfortunately, we also had no idea that Cape Town was a tricky place– and you had to be on your toes at all times as muggings were an issue here, and security was a must. We found that out right away when Paul from the hostal handed us our key"ssssss"– we had 6 keys in all. Uh huh– 6 keys to get into our room. One for the front gate, one to get into the complex — one to open the gate to the door– one for the door to get INTO the apartment… oh, you get the jist!
But no worries– that was only a slight set back to a place that held so much culture and "holy crap thats gorgeous" views! Its actually day 6 right now of South Africa– August 28th to be exact. We’ve been a little busy and journaling has been pushed to the side– so I am going to have to make this a quick one as our "baz bus" leaves again today for our next destination and whisks us off to another town on the coast.
Friday the 24th we did a wine tour through Stellen Bosch and some other vineyards– South Africa has some of the worlds BEST wines~ and the actual vineyards where we tasted these were absolutely phenominal! And oh the scenery…. it was hard to take it all in….
We then hung out at the hostal (all grey toothed and buzzy) and hung out with Mike who works there (took care of EVERYTHING while we were there). The hostal is set up in such a fantastic way that i pretty much is impossible to NOT to not meet people– We then went out to dinner with Vanessa and Andrea (2 girls we met on the wine tour with) at a fab little Indonesian place on Long Street in Cape Town.
Sat. the 25th…. We hiked the ever glorious Table Mountain– about 700 meters STRAIGHT up. And I mean VERTICLE folks! Took us about 1 1/2 hours and I would say a darn good portion of that time Ray was playing "cheerleader" as I really didn’t thinkI was going to make it. Huh, I actually don’t remember reaching the top to tell you the truth…. I was a bit delerious from the climb– Yup, Lyssr’ be outta’ shape. Of course, the view was close to perfection– the weather couldn’t have provided a better background– and then… we did it… the highest commercial abseile in the world. 112 meters….340 feet of cliff. Very very HIGH UP IN AIR THE MOUNTAIN cliff. One of the biggest adrenaline rushes I have ever had…. I especially loved the part where they don’t tell you that you run out… of… rock…. about 160 feet before you touch down. You dangle… over the edge… of the cliff. Very "Misson Impossible"– or very "Poop yourself-tastic"….. I was more the latter.
But were we ever proud of our feat– Zoinks, that was the most incredible experience yet… next to what the highest bungee jumping in the world will be…. And it JUST so happens to be here in South Africa too. Huh, how about that?
That night we celebrated at the hostal with Mike as it was his last night working and then he had to go back to Canada– what a riot they were!

Sunday the 26th we left on our baz bus for Knysna– just a 8 hour drive with about a million stops on the way– but still a great way to see the Garden Route of South Africa.
Basically– the Baz Bus is a 14 day pass that allows us to "hop on-hop off" to where ever our hearts desire. They drop you right off at the hostal and it only seats 17, so its a small group of people and you really get such a great opportunity to meet some extraordinary friends along the way. Amazing idea– if only they didn’t stop almost EVERY 45 minutes it would be perfect!
Knysna is perched on the edge of a lagoon and surrounded by forests–

***Oh… and side note I never EVER expected South Africa to first of all be cold (i know, already covered) but second of all to look quite alot like the Northshore of MN with mountains– NEVER expected it to be so green and lush! What a surprise… a wonderful surprise at that!

We spent Sunday night exploring the town and Monday we went on a ferry over to Feather Bed National Park– A beautiful reserve that takes you through the forest on the back of a tractor– great afternoon… Ray and I were in such fabulous spirits….
That night we hung out at the hostal in front of the fire pit with some new friends…. which leaves me to right now…. just a few hours we will take a short 3 hour journey to Jeffery’s Bay– Surf capital of South Africa…. Al– Kim– I know you are drooling… :)

So with ALL that said– I just want to let you all know that I will get to your emails as soon as I can as we have been a bit crazy here in South Africa…..

My Stacy Sue– right after I read your email I tried calling from Egypt but I couldn’t get through to your cell phone (I was so crazed trying to get through!)– I am thinking about you and I will contact you as soon as possible! Miss you so much! Have so much fun at your lil’ brothers wedding with all your girls…. Its coming up so fast!

Holl– is your wedding desintation still standing?!? I need to check that out asap… last I heard that it calmed down to a tropical storm… is that right? Crossing my fingers!

… And I must throw in a very special 60th Birthday shout-out to my Uncle Dennis– as well as a very happy birthday to our YOUNGEST girlfriend in the bunch– Gretta. :)

HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY TO MY BROVER’ AND KRISTI!! We are thinking about you!!
…& Happy 5th Anniversary to Lels and Joey…. We’re right behind you…. :)

…And to Phil… hello muuuuurrrrtttt, me ol’ china, me spoon in a set, bruvva from anuvva muvva, jam on me bread an’ all that pollaver………miss you muurrrttt…

I think that about does it? We are having some technical difficulties with our picts today– so not sure how many will be uploaded…. but keep checking in on those~ some VERY good ones to come!

…and of course, as always…. excuse my spelling and grammer mistakes. te he.

Love and miss you all!! Mum and Dad I will call soon!
—Lysser’ and stressed out Ray Ray (he is trying to keep calm as uploading photos may be the death of him. hee)

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