AS Beauty Goes, ASwan Is

It’s been since 2011 and 2012 when I was in the “Land of the Pharoahs” and I have missed it so much.  I’m excited to be returning in October and happy to see my same crew of expert guides and Egyptologists who have kept in touch and are eager to greet the new group.  We have added a couple more cabins for the  4 night Nile Cruise and more rooms at our Cairo, Luxor and Aswan Hotels.  So here is your chance to join me on a most unforgettable journey.  Things have calmed down tremendously since my visits but that didn’t phase me and Ms Marie Napper, a real trooper, who said back then during the protests, “If Kat is still going, I’m going”.  We thugged it out for real and had the time of our lives.

Aswan, home of the Nubians —— the blackest of black people, kind, most humble and truly beautiful people. Aswan is where I feel most “at home” and I can’t wait to get back.  Oct 16-30, 2018. The Land and Cruise package is $2575pp.  R/t airfare from New York is currently $700.  The newly added space will not last long.  Tonight, in going back through old 2011 blogs, I came upon one of my favorites.  I’ll share…

Today we checked out of our Cairo hotel and flew to Aswan. Our flight was at 2p and Ahmed & driver Abdul were there as scheduled at 1145a. Sunday is the first day of the work week for most so the streets of Cairo were busy. After arriving at the Cairo airport another rep met us, checked us in for the flight while we comfortably waited.

The flight was 1 hr 20 mins and upon arrival in Aswan we were met by rep Taha who collected our luggage and soon we were quickly on our way. As we drove through the quiet and very clean town, Taha pointed out places of interest: we crossed the High Dam, passed the Temple of Philae, groups of Nubian men, women and children going about their business. Soon we were at the dock. Our hotel, Movenpick Aswan Resort is set on an island in the middle of the Nile and the only access is by boat. Within minutes we were across the river and at the resort. We waited comfortably while Taha checked us in. I must say, every step of the way we have been treated with the best of care.

The lobby is filled with beautiful Egyptian art on the walls. I slowly took my time discovering what the hotel offered – a pharmacy, several gift shops, jewelery stores, a bank, 2 restaurants, 2 lounges, and 2 bars. The Panorama Bar on the 13th floor offers a 360 degree view of the Nile and surrounding area. The subdued lighting alternates blue, green, purple and red. The well-manicured grounds have a tropical feel with an unbelieveable infinity pool.

My room was a corner unit with 2 huge balconies both overlooking the Nile with spectacular views of the city across the river.
The Aswan Resort is not the Grand Nile Tower but definitely an excellent choice in this fine city. Conversely, busy, dusty Cairo is no quiet, clean Aswan.

The next morning our guide Hassan met us in the lobby. He is an Egyptologist and hails from Luxor. We were informed by him that he would be our private guide for the day, for all tours while on the 4 night Nile cruise and for our last day and night while in Luxor. Since thats his town, he promised to show us all the ins and outs of Luxor. We all decided we would pass on Abu Simbel since none of us wanted to rise early for the tour — maybe next time.

Upon meeting Hassan, he too said that I looked Egyptian, pure Nubian and his first inclination was to speak to me in Arabic. I’ve been getting this reaction from day 1.
Now this is going to blow your hair back: Some years ago I had my “Past Lives” done and was told I was from Egyptian royalty centuries ago. It’s no wonder why I feel so “at home” here.
Hassan escorted us to our private motorboat for a ride down the Nile to the Nubian Village. It was most relaxing as we passed the sand banks of the Sahara Desert, private homes; some fancy and some humble, and also passed the opulent mausolem of Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismali Muslims. We opted not to do the camel ride to the St. Simeon Monastery but we stopped so Vera could ride one to the Nubian Village and Ms Marie had to have her picture taken with one of the camels. I had enough camel riding in Morocco so I happily passed.

As we arrived at the village we received a warm welcome and shown inside one of the homes. We walked around, were offered beverages and shown a couple of caged crocodiles inside the home. We left tokens of appreciation  and purchased a few souvenirs before our boat ride back to our resort.

NUBIAN VILLAGE – In 1961 the government relocated 65,000 Nubians living between Lake Nassar & Sudan so they could build the Dam. The people were happy farming, eating fish from the river, cheese from goats and milk from the cows so of course they di not want to move. However, once they moved and the government constructed their homes like their original homes with sand on the floors, gave them electricity, they were pacified. They contine to farm and take their eggs, cheese and bread ot the market in the city to sell and in turn purchase things they need. Their children and grandchildren that now have an education and decent jobs have purchased homes across the river.

Nubians wear mostly white so tomorrow that will be my attire when we board the 5 star Sonesta Moon Goddess for 4 nights/5 days. Hassan will be with us and has promised to show us his Dvd’s that will show us the “real” Egyptian story.

Until next time…. Insha’ Allah (God willing)


Our last group dinner was African cuisine held at the VILLA MAASAI. Everything was on point from the starters to desserts. The service was quick, efficient  and in a word impeccable. I must mention ladies,  our Maasai Warrior waiters had it going on, and handsome as all get out with their white on Black VILLA MAASAI tight fighting tee shirts.  The artwork that adorned the walls including sculptured pieces throughout the restaurant was amazing.  I was quite proud of this group who remembered here in Paris out in public we use our “inside voices”. They had night #1 to let it all hang out at the French West Indian, Babylone Bis because it’s that kind of lively, animated place and then at our French Restaurant, Les Trublions; again let loose since it’s always prive’ (pree- vay) Private just for us.  All in all, this night at VILLA MAASAI was quite  beautiful as it  mentally transported me to the Serengeti when we visit Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar next year.

The 4 stretch limos as usual arrived before the designated time which always sets my mind at ease.  I do my best to keep friends/family together and I never try to max out the limo capacity.  It is our intent for all to be comfortable as they sip champagne or cider as they glide through this city admiring its beauty —— all lit up.  Even though I don’t take the ride with them; my greatest joy is watching them drive away with Robin in car #1 to ensure the route with our French speaking drivers.  How many groups come this way and get down like this? You can believe…..not many at all. That’s when Chauncey Cameron’s mantra comes through loud and clear: “Who ya wit?” KATTRAX!

Today, was a leisure day for the group.   It didn’t take them long to become familiar with their surroundings and get about the city with ease.  Robin and I had lunch at Villa Sophia.  Mmmmm….another Villa; this one Italian, just a few steps from the host Hotel.   While choppin’ It up on what we need to do to tighten our game next year; we discussed the shopping day for next year’s tour  which took me to discussing the purchase of some Louboutin sandals. Robin egged me on saying, “Oh why not? It’s your birthday EVERYDAY”!  And you know what? She’s right. So we hopped an Uber and in about 10 mins there we were at Christian Louboutin’s.  They didn’t have the ones I chose first but I’m very happy with what I purchased and will wear them proudly on the Greek Island of Mykonos when I celebrate my real birthday in July

Next up: May 10 – 17  Seven miles of white, sandy beach in NEGRIL JAMAICA at The Tree House Resort.




A Stroll Through Black Paris 2018

Some may be wondering why I haven’t blogged since my arrival on Thursday. The reason being: I have been bringing folks to Paris since 1983 and doing the “Stroll” since 1998.  For the most part, the “Stroll” has remained the same with the exception of replacing a restaurant here and there.  Some will admit, my blogging makes them feel as though they are right here with me and that has been my most valuable tool to get Travelers on board.  Next year’s tour is practically sold out with 1 room remaining so I will leave it at that.  I will say though, if anybody wants that room, let me know soon. I may not be able to get more later.

The majority of this group is from the Bay Area with a few from Los Angeles, Pennsylvania and Atlanta. Just putting together such a tour is not enough. It continues even  after arrival.  If you didn’t know, I do it all.  Ensuring all get picked up by their private driver at the Paris airport with so many terminals  can be nerve wracking as they don’t all arrive on flights with myself or team member, Robin. This tour faced a few challenges with Air France going on strike and if that wasn’t enough; the trains had work stoppages which could have impacted those going to London and Amsterdam on their 2 weekend days.  Thank God we had favor but it kept me hopping just to check and reconfirm for everybody.

Our  first night Welcome Dinner at Babylone Bis, serving French West Indian fare, was as usual an instant hit. The group loved it! The next day was a full day tour by private bus with the knowledgeable, charismatic Ricki Stevenson. She met the group at our hotel and before leaving on the bus she literally took them to school in the most fascinating way. Some so blown away with her facts, they are still commenting on how they so enjoyed her.   Ricki was in top form as she took them to pre 17th century and chronologically bringing them to now so they could see how black people had a major part in forming this city.  On tour they learned about the 3 Dumas, the grandfather who was a general in Napoleon’s army. He was called the “black rebel”, the son, Alexandre Dumas, author of “The Three Musketeers “, “The Count of Monte Cristo”  the most prolific writer of all times and his son, a much acclaimed Playwright.  Among so many more stops and so much more history , They stopped by the Catholic Church in Neuilly sur Seine to see the Black Madonna.

That evening several were up to an evening of jazz at Chez Papa in the Latin Quarter. It was a very full day.

Saturday, some went to London and I chilled with more chillin tomorrow when they go to Amsterdam or just do what they feel like doing.  Robin and I enjoyed our Breakfast in America with Paula Kelly, Patricia Derico, YaVette and Charles Sanders.  Afterwards, I hopped an Uber back to my apartment while they all set out to explore more of Paris. That evening, myself along with Ann and Ken Wynn enjoyed a wonderful meal at Le Relais de Venise —-no menus needed until dessert and where they hold back half your steak keeping it hot til later.  Ann and Betty Jacobs were here with me back in 2005.

We have a new African restaurant, VILLA MAASAI, the night we see Paris by Limo so of course I will return with pictures and a review of that evening but this is it for now.

I’d like to shout out to repeaters from last year: Yvette Binns and her Lovely daughter, Michelle Peacock.  Billie Dupree from several years ago who brought along granddaughter  Amani,  Nicole, and Tai. 8yr Old  Amani is studying French at the French school in Oakland. I’m all about exposing our youth to International destinations.  Other Kattrax VIPs from Fiji, Dubai,  Jamaica and several other destinations; Shirley McWilliams, Sharon Taylor and Lisa Kidd and from our recent Antarctica cruise; Sylvia Hutchings and Carolyn Peterson.      Last but not least, here to celebrate her birthday, Princess Washington, sister of Kattrax VIP, Brandy Washington. Happy Birthday, Princess!

I may not do my thing the way some are accustomed to having it done but I’ve been blessed and it works for Kat.

Until next time…..