We got back from Cairo last night. W put into port at Alexandria, and Josh and I took a train to Cairo. I couldn’t stay awake on the train – but we passed through a lot of smaller farming villages. Cairo was very dirty and loud and smoggy. The traffic was awful; no one used lanes, they just crammed as many cars/motorcycles/people as could possibly fit onto the road, and honked all the time. They had traffic lights, but didn’t use them. Instead, the only way to have any order was to have police officers directing the traffic on the corners.
On Sunday, when we arrived we went to visit the Egyptian Museum. There was so much in there, lots of heiroglyphs, mummies, statues, papyrus, boats, chariots, weapons and the most exciting part was King Tut’s stuff. It was beautiful – very detailed gold and colored glass sarcophagi. He had three sarcophagi around th him. We didn’t go to see the actual mummy… it cost more, and that’s pretty gross anyway.
It was so hot in the museum. They didn’t use air conditioning except in the few small rooms where King Tut’s stuff was kept. The rest of the museum was so hot and stuffy.
The consierge at the Sheraton where we stayed said that everything closed at 3 pm because of Ramadan. It didn’t seem like it – but the other place that we wanted to go was the famous Coptic part of the city, where the Citadel (a very large mosque, plus some museums) and a very old Catholic Church were. We didn’t make it over there though.
We went back to the hotel to cool off and went to the pool for a little while. In all the places we’ve stayed they have lipless pools – they’re beautiful!
Later we got a cab to Giza and ate dinner on a roof-top where you can see the lightshow on the pyramids at the same time as you are eating dinner. The lightshow was fun to see for free – but I wouldn’t have wanted to pay for it! We probably enjoyed it more our way. Afterwards, we stopped in a little shop and this girl showed us how to make papyrus, and I bought a papyrus of a map of Egypt. It was priced at 1800 LE (Egyptian Pounds), but we bought it for 200 LE (about $35 US). It’s nice, probably still overpriced though. 😉
She tried to sell us perfume too – but we finally escaped.
The next day we went to the pyramids and walked through the valley around them. We went into the second great pyramid. It was an interesting experience. We walked a very long narrow passageway down, where you have to walk bent over double, then a straight bit, tall enough to stand up, and another passageway up where you have to be bent over again. Eventually you find yourself in a large open room – the burial room. It was very creepy in there… they lit it just enough to see where you were going, and you can imagine what it must have been like to go into the pyramids with a torch or a lamp flickering against the narrow walls, staring into the dark mystery of a king’s tomb. Also, they had the side passageways blocked, but if you were exploring it, it must have been very frightening.
The Sphinx is smaller than I thought, but it was very large. He only looks small compared to the pyramids.
We headed back to the hotel, checked out, went to the train station and back to Alexandria. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of Alexandria except what we saw between the train station and the port. I guess Josh and I will have to visit again to see the Library and the Lighthouse, both which have been rebuilt, but are famous anyway.
The Egyptians trying to sell us things were very pushy and obnoxious.
“Where you from?”
“Ah, welcome! I visit your country. I have been to San Francisco.”
“Welcome to Egypt my friend, would you like to see my shop?”
“I take your picture.”
“Very beautiful wife… I’ll give you a million camels for her.”
“Free! Small money…”
It was not very relaxing, but I’m glad we went and saw the pyramids. Very incredible – the stone blocks they used were almost as tall as I am, and as wide as they were tall. HUGE!