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Articles Tagged ‘Cairo’

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Of Minaretes and Men

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

We said goodbye to K and B with whom we spent a week in Dahab, and P, M, and I traveled back to Cairo by flying from Sharm el-Shek (I had had enough with Egyptian buses at that point). I am back in Cairo for the day and leave for Morocco tomorrow.

Today P, M, and I meandered around the city and visited two old Mosques. At the first one – Al Ghuri — we had really nice guides who were very helpful and kind. The mosque was beautiful and we went all the way up the minarete and had amazing views of the Cairo, though we didn’t feel like the railing at the top of the minarte — the tiny, ancient pieces of wood stopping from us falling hundreds of feet to our deaths — was all that stable (addendum: P, who works in contruction, has since informed me we were only 60 or so feet up). The stairs were a bit trecherous and at one point there was no light and M and I were not exactly being “mosque-level modest” with our skirts hiked up our thighs to avoid tripping down the steps. Oh, and fashion note, big skirts and headscarfs make you look fat in all photos. Or at least, they make me look fat. [read on]

Egyptian Evening Extravaganza

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Well, it is 1:30 am and I need to leave for the airport at 3 and sleep is not happening. Friday night in Cairo is NOT a quiet place (neither in the streets nor my hostel). So, I’ll do one last update before I leave. Word of advice, consider the overnight train rather than a 5am flight if you’re going to Aswan or Abu Simbel, I suspect you’ll get more sleep on the train!

T, C, and I (T and C are two of the students studying arabic who want to work for their respective countries’s various 3-letter-acronym government branches) had decided to go downstairs to the shops on our street around 8:30pm for us to shop for more conservative clothes (headscarf for me, long-sleeve tunics for all of us). The only long sleeve stuff I have is really heavy weight and no fun at all to wear in this heat. The shops really get going around 8pm on Friday night. Then we were joined by H, the aussie guy, and instead of walking around we found ourselves in a cab going to the main bazaar, Kahn-El Khalili. H is the kind of guy who fun follows and bad things never seem to happen. Despite my not wanting to go that far because of my middle of the night flight … oh well, we were off… [read on]

Egyptian Museum: Sensory Overload

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Well, to begin. today is not a good day to enjoy much of anything. My body is in agony from doing the pyramids yesterday. Partly, it is a sign of the deterioration of my physical being, and part it was really hard going up tons of stairs and then down long tunnels hunched over practically in half. In any case, pretty much every footstep hurt, and every step up or down stairs agony. So this was not the ideal day to go to the Egyptian Museum which has a lot of stairs!

My original plan had been to go to Islamic Cairo in part because — no steps! But setting out at around 9am on a Friday morning (their “Sunday”), well it was like a post-apocolyptic city, for all there were people around. An empty Cairo is much more frightening than a full one. So I decided to reverse routes and head to the museum. [read on]

Pyramids and People

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Did the whole “Pyramid thing” today. It was cool and surprisingly a little hum-drum at the same time.

The taxi driver who picked me up yesterday at the airport picked me up again today at 8am to begin our tourist-du-jour adventure. I wasn’t sure whether he was the wisest choice of drivers, but the hostel guy (who has been Mr. “let me help you”) said he was trustworthy and other hostel folk said the price (120 EP or about $24) for the day and multiple sites was a good price. In the end, I was very glad to have had him. In addition to lots of good advice, he brought along Sophie, his 12 year old daughter to accompany me to two of the sites (she pretty much got in for free), as she had never been there before. She spoke very little English and was kind of shy, but I liked having her along. If nothing else, it seemed to reduce the number of hasslers I had. [read on]

Arrived: Cairo

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Arrived in Cairo. Was on a 4:30am flight, so got up at 1:30am. Urgh. Slept most of the way.

It is 90 degrees at 9am. The hostel owner was SO helpful when I arrived, he sent his 17 year old son out with me to help me get a new sim card and money for my phone. Don’t think I would have been successful without him. Today I’ll toodle over to the museum, tomorrow it is “pyramid day”.

Stay tuned.