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November 17, 2004

you say Salaam I say Salaam


Salaam Salaam, I don't know why you say Salaam I say Salaam.
How different the musical world would have been if the Beatles spoke Arabic.

The next morning we were up early for a tour around Cairo. Cairo is an amazing city, so ancient, yet due to the annual flooding, until the Nile was first dammed in by the British in 1902, most of the city was not fit for year round inhabitation. Our tour took us around to couple of the oldest Coptic Churches in the world, including one built over the house where Joseph and Mary were said to have been hidden after the death of Christ. We also went to a synagogue but the tense armed guards outside were still on edge after the previous weeks bombing and it was a brief, nervous affair. Next we went to the beautiful Mohammed Ali (Alabaster) Mosque, situated inside the Citadel, which was the home of the Egypt's Muslim Rulers for over 700 years and the biggest fortified City in the Muslim world. The mosque itself was built by Mohammed Ali, an Albanian Tobacco vendor who rose to rule, by uniting Egypt armed forces after the invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. To get inside the mosque however we had to comply with the strict dress code. Once inside it's an enchanting place, huge glass balls hang from the ceiling and the acoustics are incredible. Outside offers a panoramic view of the city, we're told the pyramids are somewhere in the smog. Next was the Museum of Cairo, home of the legendary treasures of Tutankhamun (no cameras inside since 1905). The treasure are fabulous beyond belief, he was obviously expected to be a busy corpse as the whole top floor of the museum is given over to housing the things he needed for the next life. I think part of the reason for the eventual demise of the Egyptian empire was their curious custom of burying all the kings wealth with him when he died, meaning that the new Pharaoh basically had to start from scratch. This lead to a policy of constant expansion with successive rulers reaching further and further in their quest for new lands, subjects and wealth (and the inevitable over-stretching). We walked around the museum until our protesting legs called for a chair and a cup of coffee. Having satisfied our legs we returned to the hotel to await the night train up the Nile to Aswan.

Posted by Zach & Emily on November 17, 2004 04:58 AM
Category: Egypt

Greetings explorers,

Having fabulous laughs at your latest adventures, looking forward to the next installment.

Much Love and Snuggles,

Chloe xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Posted by: Chloe on November 20, 2004 07:32 PM
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