First arrived in Alexandria 29th Dec. 1943. First run ashore, with Headington, 31st. Made date with Wrens Audrey and Marian. Dinner and evening show at the Carlton; 2 girls, Sperring, Andersen, Headington and self. Doc and Kernan also there. Bill for £15, reduced to £9, including 2 x £4 for champagne. Eventually paid £5. First experience of shoreside thieving!
Second time in Alex. Undergoing examination of engines. 48 hours leave, to Cairo with Sperring and Headington. Interesting bustle of station. Train journey - lunch - native work in fields. Verdant and prosperous. Broken down camels, donkeys and buffalo. Work gangs, women with baskets of earth. Irrigation wells.
Cairo orderly. Much Army. Two horse gharries, and taxis don't know where places are. Bed at NZ Club. Evening at Ambassadors. US subaltern joined us. Drinks then excellent meal. Watched the dancing. Family parties of - say - Armenians. Men with women who weren't allowed to dance. Man wearing fez. Cabaret was excellent. Coon's step dance. He seemed to lead the company. Two American girls singing "You've got to hand it to the British", "Pistol packing Momma". Pair doing song dance turns Naughty Nineties etc. All over about 2345. Went into Shepheards as their party was breaking up. Pete hired a donkey in Malika Farida.
Saturday. Taxi to G.H.Q. I saw Wilf Barlow at PICME. Then to Mena House. Pete went off chasing army friend. Ken and I to Great Pyramid. Inside small pyramid, one of Cheop's daughters. Found interesting temple and hieroglyphics and saw "mummy" in sarcophagus. Obscene drawing. Very interesting. At Mena House Hotel, glass of beer on veranda. Good lunch. Pete returned. Saw caravan of camelled [?yobs].
Afternoon. Inside Great Pyramid. S.A. coloured troops tagged on party. Thrilled to go to lower chamber, after climbing over gate. Very narrow low passage. Also notable - King's Gallery. Fresh air was welcome. East side of G.P. took rubbing of hieroglyphics. Walked on to Sphinx. Main part carved in living rock - strata could be seen. Feet still covered by blocks, as presumably the whole once was. The head built of large blocks of limestone. Chin is now supported by sandbags. Was greatly impressed by expression on face.
The Temple. Enormous blocks of granite, showing signs of fine workmanship. Highly polished - wonderful "fit" - enormous size. Burial places in temple. Alabaster. Didn't have photograph taken. American tourists. Official US army car. Aircraft flying over.
Mena. Ken bought head of Aphrodite.
Evening. Ken and I bought "scarabs", instead of silver junk!
Drink at Shepheards. I met Barlow. Good meal and chat. Half hour at "Music for all" with coffee.
Left Cairo at 0700 Sunday.
Saturday night 12th Feb with Guns, took Alexis and Alma to dine an dance at EFI Club. Bow ties. Felt most uncomfortable and had an awful evening!
About Tuesday had meal at Ras el Fin with Rod Lestere. Pontoon. Enjoyed Rod's company, and glad we got on so well.
Saturday afternoon with Ken to Pompey's pillar. Much impressed by it. Ken of course can discuss the architecture. 3 sphinx and fragments of statues in granite. Kneeling torsos. Horns. Well preserved hierolyphics. All the things here are granite - remains of Cleo's temple to Anthony. Under this are (?still older) catacombs. Carved out of near sandstone. Numerous interlacing corridors with shelves for mummies.