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Published: November 4th 2006
Somewhere in Egypt...
...An old man on his donkey told me 'walk this way and you shall find your fortune'... So I walked that way...
Firstly I'd like to say how amazing Egypt is. The people are really friendly... though you can expect to get hassled in the tourist areas.
I was walking down the street when a friendly Egyptian man offered his quirky explanation as to the meaning of the expression 'to walk like an Egyptian'.... He told me that it comes from riding camels, due to the strange way they move, rocking their rider back and forth, while they're holding onto the reins with one hand stretched out forward and the other backwards for support from the saddle. Once the rider disembarks the camel, after several hours in this position, the after effects from the journey cause the strange walk to continue on ground level, manifested in human form.
Travelling through this country requires concentration... You can get by alright with English, they're all masters of many languages, though it's amazing how quickly misunderstandings emerge as soon as the time comes to pay. All of a sudden the negotiated price of x-amount becomes per person or the taxi ride may cost you in English pounds instead of Egyptian pounds... Believe me the difference is far from small. Sign language is
...and at the pyramids of Giza...
...burried in the desert sand...I found what I'd been looking for! I was so happy holding my new find, I screamed out 'yes' three times at the top of my voice. Lucky me!
also not advisable in such negotiations, four fingers up can cost you 40 pounds if not careful.
By the end of my stay in Egypt I may pick up some strange habits or bargaining techniques.... I'd like to see what kind of reception I'd receive back home when I ask some shop-keeper if the price tag is per shoe & what currency the label's in..... then proceed to haggle by offering half for the pair, confident I can sway them by feigning non-interest and starting to walk away. I should note, haggling over restaurant menu prices is the exception here in Egypt, at the least you can get laughed at or at the worst thrown out of the establishment.
Egyptian Museum in Cairo, some curious exhibits from the endless collection:
-Mummified crocodiles, the head of one was enormous... I had no idea crocodiles can grow so huge. Jesus!
-Mummified cats, baboons, calves, snakes, hypo's, (elephants too apparently, but not at this museum).
-In the Tutankhamun's chamber there were two mummified human fetuses.
In Pharaohnic Egypt there were 4 types of animal mummies:
Pets, to keep the Pharaoh or Queen company in the afterlife.
Food, mummified animals as food
Sacred animals, such as the Baboon, Snake, Croc...etc.
Votive, don't really understand this one.
My visit to Tutankhamun's chamber left me in awe, completely overwhelmed by the beauty of his gold death mask and many treasures. So numerous were his treasures they filled a vast section of the museum. I first read about 'the Curse of Tutankhamum' and the secrets of his tomb as a child. His was the only fully intact tomb to date.... though this has recently changed with the discovery of a new preserved tomb with gold sarcophagus(es). It was a dream come true to see Tutankhamun's relics to the afterlife in person. My expectations were greatly exceeded and my mind kept flashing back to these images for many days later. My travel buddy for the day experienced goosebumps upon entering the chamber. The jewels are intricately crafted, studded with jems and turquois coloured glass, cast inside pure gold surrounds, shaped like sacred animals, mythical creatures and gods. So numerous were his jewels, I could not imagine how he could have worn them all. Then I found the explanation describing how the jewels were layered in between the embalming linen sheets, wrapping around his body.
On the other side...
...from the pyramids of Giza, this is Cairo! A love it or hate it experience. (Try it during Ramadan.. total confusion!)
Over the top of the linen, in addition to his gold mask, he wore gold finger and toe caps for protection of his limbs, multiple rings, bracelets, necklaces and gold slippers even. His mummy was encased in a solid gold sarcophugus, which in turn was placed inside several progressively larger decorated wooden coffins.
At the museum we also saw many ancient mummies, including the mummy of Ramses II, some dating back to 1540 BC. It's almost too long to fathom.
20th of October marks my lucky day. On this day I found something that I've dreamt of finding my whole life. I found it next to the pyramids of Giza, a real horse shoe. The symbol of good luck. I was so happy when I dug it out from the sand that I shouted out a loud 'Yes' three times at the top of my voice. I really do feel lucky.
My favorite Egyptian saying...... 'How many camels...?'
An Egyptian offered one of my fellow Canadians, who accompanied me to the pyramids, 40 camels 'for his wife'...... me! I didn't know which was funnier, paying in Camels or the measly 40 he offered for me. I've since
learned that a camel roughly costs $2,000 dollars, equating to a price of $80,000 for me. I told him he wouldn't really want me as his wife... He then said he only wanted me for a week! Heh! Funny stuff.
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