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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pyramids of Giza

Disclaimer: I’m in a hurry so this is a bit of a brain dump for prosperity.

Although the internet is cheaper in Egypt (6 LE per hour, $1.20 per hour), I have been running around trying to see as much as I can. The first day, I walked all around Zamalek, I like this neighbourhood very much. It’s like an expensive version of Commercial Drive. Lots of coffee shops, restaurants, colourful characters and strange stores.

SphinxDay two, we went to the Khan Khalili bazzar and spent too much money. We were caught up in lovely things. That night we went on a night trip to the pyramids of Giza. These are the 3 famous pyramids of Egypt because they are in good condition and close to Cairo. There are 110-133 pyramids in Egypt, in fact there are 9 at Giza, but aside from the 3 big ones, the others are smaller queen pyramids. The sound and light show was ok, a quick history of Egypt with the pyramids lit up. There are 3 million blocks, the pyramids are at a 52 degree angle, they are aligned with the sun, all interesting things. Then we had dinner at a restaurant across the street (thankfully not the KFC—lots of development around the pyramids).

Moheb and RabbitDay three, we hired a guide from the hotel to take us to the pyramids during the day. Moheb was great. His name means beloved and his was lovely explaining hieroglyphics and the tombs. I crawled all the way down a tunnel into one of the tombs. There are vertical hieroglyphics and horizontal. The horizontal can be read left to right or right to left depending on the way the figures are facing.The tomb was really cool. This was at Saqqara, which is the oldest site. First we went to Memphis to see the huge status of Ramses II, then to Saqqara, next to the Pyramids of Giza.

I learned about Upper and Lower Egypt, and upper was the lotus flower, the top of the Nile, lower was the delta and the marshes with papyrus. These symbols are everywhere. I love the stories of daily life in the hieroglyphics.You can see the humour, there are fisherman, with the fish jumping out of the basket. There are hippos, lions, crocodiles.

TuntournaAt the end of this very long day, we went on a Nile cruise for dinner. I think we circled this one block, nothing changed outside the windows, but the food was ok, and the 2nd entertainers were excellent dancers. I danced with the belly dancer and was complemented but most I loved the tuntoura, who is a guy that spins like the dirvishes but makes designs with these drums that he holds in different patterns and with his layered skirt. That was by far the best.

Day four, Sherif was our excellent guide for the Citadel, Egyptian Museum and the mosque. It was a fantastic day visiting different churches, the synagogue, the mosque (all in the same block), the crypt where Mary hid, the citadel, ...

LotusThe museum is huge and thank goodness Sherif was able to show us the highlights and most important things otherwise I would have been overwhelmed and missed the best parts. The mummies were also creepy and excellent. I understand why there are depicted in horror movies now. I can’t imagine going and discovering a tomb and finding a mummy. They are ok in the museum but really, to see the bottom of someone’s foot and see their facial expression in death—willies.

Falafel shop: Rabbit and SherifDay five, bookshop, coffee and trying to pack. My bag ripped so I have to find a luggage shop. Weird day to come.

Tomorrow London, then eventually back to Vancouver. I can’t remember my office phone number so it’s been a good holiday.

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