[More from my wife, Amy, on our Cairo trip. I'm only entering them now that I have time.]
Hi all and happy 4th of July to you!
I almost hate to remind the kids it is the 4th today. They are bummed about missing fireworks. Yesterday, Friday, we did some looking around the City Stars complex that the Intercontinental hotel is connected to. It is like a mall but more, there is a little amusement park, theaters, bowling alleys, etc... but it is about the size of 5 city blocks. It is just massive and believe me it doesn't take long to get completely lost. Thankfully, Microsoft has placed colorful Imagine Cup logo shaped foot prints all around. There are several other hotels at various point of the mall and many contestants are staying at them, as they are cheaper. The footprints lead you to the Intercontinental entrance.
Here is an important travel tip: Find a local supermarket store nearby where you are staying for inexpensive daily needs. We found one down the street in Paris and was very helpful. Lucky us, we have one here just down one floor in the mall from the hotel. It is called Spinneys (I think it's called that because the yellow and green shopping cart wheels can spin 360 degrees. :) It's like a Target or Walmart. I don't think they have clothes but they have TV's, toys, jewelry and most importantly, bottled water and food cheap. They have packaged food, a deli, bakery, and hot dish area. It's been decent and convenient. One night we had chicken and rice (they eat a lot of rice here - it's good) and another we had some "cheese pizza" on bread. Of course, they have all the toiletry things you might forget like lotion, Q-tips, aspirin, etc.
Jeff started the IT Challenge competition early this morning so the kids and I went to the little amusement park last night to let him get to sleep early. It's like a really big Chuck E Cheese meets a local traveling carnival meets, well, general garish parental torture/noise/little kids everywhere/no safety regulations. They went on a couple of little rides and then went on these bumper cars that went faster than I've ever seen bumper cars go. Well, Claire got a little scared and then a little hurt when she hit the wall going pretty fast. The seat belt straps across her cut into her neck on both sides and gave her a burn. So she was very upset and we left. We put ice on the scratches and this morning they are red marks, but she says they feel better.
Jeff is in the heart of the competition today that runs for 24 hours. Then they have to review the entries, then meet with each contestant for review then score them. It will run well into tomorrow. They get little or no sleep during this time.
Not sure right now what we are going to do today. Kids are just getting up and must feed them. I have a list of several places and am going to talk to the concierge about them.
I've been meaning to mention security. Everything is screened here. There are screeners and walk through detectors for everything, even to get into the mall, and of course all the sites we've visited. At our hotel, there is a bomb sniffing dog that goes around your car before they'll let you drive into the parking lot. We feel very safe here. :)