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Published: January 11th 2011
2 days and 1 nite in Cairo, Egypt... time to make some childhood Indiana Jones fantasies come to life... well maybe not... the Cairo in the Raiders of the Lost Ark is quite different from the Cairo of today. It is still wrapped in mystery and it is still home to some of the most important archeological discoveries on earth.
Our trip was organized by the ship and we started at the Mohamed Ali Mosque (not the boxer, but an important leader in Egypt's history). We then moved onto the Cairo Archeological Museum which had some of the most fascinating artifacts we had ever seen. We were impressed by the museum in Athens but Egypt's history goes backs 10,000s of years, and the art, exhibits, and monuments show a highly advanced civilization that you could spend a lifetime discovering. We couldn't take pictures in the museum but the highlight was definitely all the belongings from King Tuts tomb (including the highly recognizable gold headdress that capped his mummified remains). The afternoon consisted of a quick lunch, check-in, at our hotel, and then off to the laser light show at the Pyramids of Giza (the ones with the Sphinx). If you
Truck full of camels
We don't see this every day...I guess Joe Camel was slow on calling shotgun
ever make your way here, you can skip the light show, it really wasn't worth our time (but it was our first peek at the pyramids). The first night ended with a quick boat cruise on the Nile where we were entertained by belly dancers, singers and performers (this too could have been skipped as it was a little cheesy).
Day 2 started bright and early and our first stop was Sakkara. There are over 100 known pyramids in Egypt and each of them is different and littered throughout the dessert. Sakkara has some of the earliest pyramids. We were able to explore a tomb and get our first glimpses of the dessert and pyramids in day light. After Sakkara we headed to Memphis for a little less conversation and a little more action (insert hip thrust here) .. okay, not that Memphis... the one from 1000s of years ago. We saw the giant statue of Ramses the Second and got up close and personal with a smaller but more intact sphinx. After Memphis it was time to get to the legendary Pyramids of Giza (these are the ones we all know well). The pyramids were GIGANTIC and truly
magnificent to see. And the opportunity to get so close to them and The Spinx is one we'll remember for our whole lives. The only thing that detracts from this visit is the continuous hounding by very pushy vendors. You cannot walk a few feet without someone trying to sell you something, putting something in your hand, trying to trick you, trying to point you in a direction, trying to get in your picture, or even pretending to be a police officer and asking if you want help with your camera (all of which require a payment in the eyes of the vendors). Giza is overwhelmed with vendors trying to sell you anything and everything. We did our best to breath in the monumental history of this site even with the a constant barrage of “Hey Mister's”.
Our guide joked that Cairo also has the 8th wonder of the world...the driving. And she was right...the driving is unlike anything we've ever seen. The lines on the roads are mere suggestions - drivers make 5 lanes out of 3. And the horns are going continuously. Throw in the fact that drivers are dealing with cars, trucks, bikes, camels, donkeys, sheep,
tuktuks, buses...you name it. It is not for the faint of heart.
Also, Cairo is being swallowed up by garbage; over 20 million people make Cairo home and the government doesn't have the funds or the resources to provide adequate garbage services and it shows; add to that that it only rains in Cairo once a year and maybe only for 30 to 60 minutes... which means that the dust, sand and garbage that blankets this city is never washed away! The people seemed friendly, but they are poor, and living conditions are not great. There is a big gap between the cities of the Western World and Cairo. This is definitely a place in the world we're glad we got to see.
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