Published: May 2nd 2011April 27th 2011
Maybe for breeding pigeons
I am not sure what these are for but I saw many of them in the desert area.
Well, time for another blog. When last I left off I was coming close to departing for Alexandria. During that first week, I was constantly battling a lovely little bug who seemed to enjoy the inside of my bowels for some reason. Thankfully that has passed and I am feeling much better now and hopefully it will stay that way, In shah Allah.
A week ago Sunday, while Aaron was feeling a little under the weather, Jon and I ventured over to the city of the dead. As we were strolling through the alleyways, we saw many tombs and places where Cairos dead have been buried over the last thousand or so years. After the earthquake of 1994, in Cairo, many of the cities poor people, who had lost their residence during the earthquake, moved into the areas where their relatives had been buried for centuries and began to live amongst the dead. While we were going through one of the many alleyways, we were attacked by a ravenous group of dogs and were lucky to escape unscathed. There were a few dogs lying down in the shade and by all means could have been dead with the amount
of flys flying around. I bent down to take a picture and as I was doing so the dog jumped into action, aided by another three or four of his comrades. Within a quarter of a second they went from lying on the ground, dead like, to jumping up, fangs barred and started charging Jon and I. We were startled and had to react immediately, slowly we started backing away, facing them directly and they slowed down holding their ground and keeping their fangs on display. That was one of the scariest moments of my life and I feel lucky not to have a new tattoo on my leg in the shape of a dogs mouth. Since then I have had a few more encounters with dogs in alleyways and have become anti dog. Jon and I were later confronted by another dog and came to the conclusion that these dogs were probably protecting their masters houses. Nevertheless we made every effort to avoid dogs from then on.
After walking around for another hour or so, we took a taxi back to the hostel and met up with Aaron for lunch. Taxis in Cairo are very reasonable, however
View of parts of Siwa from within one of the tombs in the hill of the dead.
you need to make sure you get a white taxi, because they have meters and without a meter the driver will usually try to rip off foreigners. Usually a taxi ride around town costs 5 to 10 pounds, equivalent to between 80 cents and $1.60. We took a bus to Alexandria that afternoon, which took three hours and took a taxi downtown from the bus station. The hotel we stayed at was alright, however it was on the eighth floor and taking the elevator up and down each time we went anywhere involved paying the bellboy baksheesh, so we took the stairs annoying the bellboy. Alexandria was much cooler than Cairo and the first day we were there I was rather tired and went to sleep shortly after dinner. We watched a little wrestling before we went to bed, wrestling is huge here and is seen on televisions all the time, they especially like rey mesterio, not sure why. The next day we went looking for a new hotel and found one beside the Cecil Hotel. We visited the catacombs and Pompeys pillar, the Catacombs were interesting, however, the pillar was not much of a sight and is not necessarily
Jumping in the desert
Jumping in the desert as the sun set behind me.
worth visiting. We found out we could have got into the catacombs from both sides without paying, unfortunately we did not realize that before we went in so we were stuck paying entrance fees.
That night we had Thai food and it was amazing, the best food I’ve had in Egypt yet. I had yellow curried chicken with rice and it was amazing. The native food in Egypt is decent, however, after a few days of fuul or falafeal, one needs to eat something else, they also have a dish called koshary, which I am not to fond of, it is very cheap though. That night we stayed in the same hotel, but the next day we moved to our new hotel which was cheaper and had a view of the mediterannean sea which was a welcomed addition. The next day we wanted to go to the Graeco- Roman museum, unfortunately, it was under construction already for the past three years and from the look of things it would be under construction for another ten years at least. Jon had an aching for fish and so that day we had fish for lunch and dinner, It was decent,
Reflecting in the desert
Taking a break in the Sahara
I suppose after four months of no fish it may have tasted as good as Jon said. That night we went to a coffee shop, smoked seesha and watched the Schalke-Manchester game, Schalke lost which was unfortunate. Later that night we got back to the hotel in time to watch the Canucks win a thrilling game seven in overtime. The next day we walked along the seashore for a long time and were going to go to the beach, due to the fact that it was raining slightly and the beach was an hour away we cancelled that plan. We had an actual coffee that afternoon which is super hard to find in Egypt, they drink mainly Chai and Turkish shot style coffee here. That night we went to another coffee shop and watched the Barcelona-Madrid game and again the team I was rooting for, Madrid, lost.
The next day I departed for Siwa and Aaron and Jon returned to Cairo for a few days before returning to Jordan. I was now on my own in a foreign country with few Arabic words and finding few who could speak English, now the adventure will truly become interesting. I
Veggie crepe with fruit smoothie
Amazing little cafe with great food and drink in Siwa.
arrived in Siwa nine hours later and booked two nights in the palm trees hotel, which was very cheap only four dollars a night. Over the next two days I met two Japanese girls, a young Scottish couple, a British girl, a Canadian girl and an older German fellow. Siwa was interesting, having only come under true Egyptian rule a few hundred years ago. For the first day in Siwa I leisurely biked around Siwa on a rented bike and visited one of the many surrounding ruins. I saw a few more tombs in the hill of the dead and am slowly becoming tombed out. I also went to cleopatras spring, where Cleopatra is supposed to have swam. It was not much of a sight but would have been a nice swim had I remembered my swim shorts. I also found a place that served crepes and had a lovely vegetarian crepe, since they were all out of chicken at the time. The next morning I had a couple chocolate and banana crepes, which were amazing and then embarked on a desert safari with a few of the people whom I met earlier at my hotel. We drove through the
An amazing view o the rooftops overlooking Alex
This was taken from the eighth floor of our hotel and it really shows the view seen from most larger buildings in the larger cities of Egypt
Sahara desert in a land rover and stopped to sand board, swim in a cold lake and relax in a hot spring before coming to the top of some dunes to watch the sun set. That night I had the worst sleep of my trip, attempting to sleep in the Sahara but not having much luck. I was constantly awoken by mosquitoes and barking dogs due to the relatively close proximity to the waters of the oases. I was happy to see the light of the morning and spent the remainder of the day on multiple busses from Siwa to Cairo.
I arrived in Cairo yesterday and am now back at the Australian Hostel in Cairo. I went to the Sudanese embassy today and got my Sudanese visa which cost me a hefty sum. I plan on staying a few days yet in Cairo and then I will either take a bus to Aswan and ferry across to Sudan or fly to Sudan and do the afore mentioned route on the way back. I gave in to the Egyptian perfume hasslers today, at least I have some gifts for when I get back, these guys just never stop.
A place where the dead are buried
These buildings were built especially for the death of richer powerful people ironically the cities poorest now live in or around many of these beautiful ancient buildings
I will not give in to the papyrus though, I laugh at them when they try to sell it to me because I am so sick of it and I really can’t stand the papyrus sellers they are simply too much. Cairo has been a more pleasant experience than when I first arrived and is enjoyable in the evenings, during the day it is very hot and most people stay indoors. Hopefully next time I write I will be in Sudan and will not have died of heat exhaustion.
There are more photos below