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Published: February 24th 2008
sphyx and pyramid
the sphynx was found a few hundred years ago buried up to its neck in sand. his nose was ripped off by some jerk a long time ago.
The biggest city and the capitol of modern Egypt was a breath of fresh air when we stepped off the plane after a long trip from Bombay. (But we did enjoy our five hour layover checking out the Kuwait airport.) After bargaining with a few taxi drivers we scored a ride into downtown, where the cheap hotels are concentrated. Our first impressions of Egypt were super good, the landscape and weather here are kind of like Palm Springs in California, warm in the day, dry air, and cold at night. And we noticed it was way cleaner than India, and much safer driving.
We stayed at the Dahab Hostel on the rooftop of an old building downtown. It was totally budget, like the cheapest place in town, but the staff were friendly, and for 5 bucks a night we got what we paid for.
Cairo is a huge city with the Nile River running through it. Walking around downtown we were surprised that most of the stores were selling high heels, and clothing, and most of the women had their heads covered because this is an Islamic country. Five times a day all the mosques blast prayers sung from
taken from the taxi on the freeway in cairo
the famous pyramids of giza rising out of the suburbs of cairo. there are three big ones and some smaller ones at giza
the Koran loud enough for EVERYBODY to hear. And crossing the street is pretty scary here. But people were friendly and didn't seem to notice us that much, except for the guys trying to pull us into their perfume shops to sell us rip off imitation perfume. (We did end up getting dragged into a perfume shop, and the guy trying to sell us perfume showed us how strong the bottle was by banging it on the countertop, and it smashed into pieces, it was priceless, I was laughing so hard.)
We happened to be in Cairo when Egypt won the African world cup. It was insane. We were having dinner in a restaurant(whose claim to fame was Jimmy Carter ate there in the seventies), and all of a sudden millions of people poured out onto the street celebrating like I've never seen people celebrate. Everyone was hugging and singing and high fiving. People were riding on top of cars, honking their horns, and blowing fire out of hair spray cans. There was one guy shooting his gun into the air. Even the cops were honking the horns in their cars.
We were in cairo for about a
two headed camel.
week, and we totally enjoyed it. A new country and a new culture was what we needed after almost three months in India. And new food too! Egypt is a meat eaters paradise. Its awesome. The food here is chicken, beef, veal, with potatoes bread and salad. We've been eating a lot of fuul, which is mashed up fava beans or falafel and salad in a pita bread. Its cheap, like 25 cents, and is sold on the street. they are also master bakers here, with the most amazing honey-soaked exoctic pastries. We spent our time shopping and exploring different areas of the city. We went to the Egyptian Museum and saw some mummies and the unbelievable amount of treasure from King Tuts tomb ( he was such a diva, he didnt even have much relevance as a pharoah compared to the others, he just wanted to have the most lavish tomb there was, including is 11kg solidgold deathmask, 3 gold plated box like enclosures small medium and large which all fit into eachother for his coffin, along with 2 outer mummy coffins, gold and precious stones.....the list goes on and on !! ancient day p.diddy i'd say...if you want
to see more check out www.kingtutone.com/tutankhamun/ its a good site considering you cant take pictures in the museum of all the stuff. ) , as well as thousands of other ancient Egyptian artifacts. Oh yeah, and the pyramids.
We finally got to see the Pyramids of Giza, one of the last remaining wonders of the world. They lie in the suberbs of Cairo, where the desert meets the city. Seeing and touching these bohemoths was surreal. They're so big! Pyramids were made as massive tombs for pharohs, and the insides have passageways and ventilation holes built in. We got to go inside(for an extra fee of course) and go deep inside to where the pharohs tomb and treasure was. They're all empty now, because of tomb robbers thousands of years ago, but the passageways remain intact. The passageways are only about four feet high though, so you have to walk bent over until you reach a cavernous main room with some other passageways leading off in different directions.
The mummified pharoh was laid to rest in a granite sarcofogus with more coffins, each smaller than the last, fitted inside. He was burried with everything he needed for the
a little limestone remains on the top of this one. too hard to get to i guess.
afterlife, including plenty of gold and jewelry, chariots, board games, food, beer, wine, all kinds of stuff, and of course his internal organs which were placed in seperate containers. Then the tomb was sealed up with stone and disguised. there were fake doors and dead ends added through the pyramids to confuse tomb robbers.
We checked out the pyramids at Giza and a couple other sites called Saqqara, which has the oldest pyramid and is made in steps instead of smooth sides, and Dashur, which has the Red Pyramid, because of its reddish looking stone.
At the end of the day we took a camel ride into the desert and drank tea with some local camel guides. Camels are so weird and funny looking, and totally uncomfortable to ride. Our guide was a character, with plenty of stupid/sometimes funny jokes, and made us some beduin tea over a fire. He kept saying "you've always dreamed of this right? riding a camel in the desert and seeing the pyramids? Ever since you were a little kid right? Yeah, this is the best day of your life!" It wasn't the best day of my life, but it was definitely up
there, drinking tea in the desert with the sun going down and the pyramids in the back ground and the grunting noises of the camels. It was prettty sweet.
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