Monday, January 14, 2013

Egypt (Cairo)

Our first 3 days at sea were spent traveling across the Mediterranean.  This for us was spent catching up on sleep and resting to our hearts content.

We docked in Alexandria after being at sea for 3 days and I was 1 excited girl to see land and Egypt at 5:30 in the morning.  That energy soon depleted about an hour into our bus ride to Cairo.  We had a 2.5 hour drive so Davis a little more than I both caught some shut eye while driving to the Giza. 
I felt like I had prepared myself for third world countries as we were going to several on this cruise, but after seeing Egypt I now know that one can NOT prepare themselves.  You have to see it in person to understand and fully comprehend how others live.

I can try to describe it to you, but it will not be the whole picture because you cannot see the people’s faces nor see the buildings or shacks that they call homes.  You will not see the significant trash problem and how rivers do not even look like water for all the trash in them, instead they look like a landfill that you could easily walk across. 

The people fish in these polluted waters by sitting on the piles of trash.  There are roads that you cannot drive on because of the amount of garbage.  The kids play in the dirt surrounded by trash.  Most people do not have cars, they travel by mules and flatbeds.  They have motorcycles that they load with 3 people.  You will see children riding in front of their parents on motorcycles and not a single person is wearing a helmet.  Women carry everything on their heads.  The prayers happen 5 times a day and they are so loud that you can hear them everywhere.  The children were for the most part so happy to see us.  They would run and wave with huge smiles with our bus as we would drive past them.  Smoking starts early as it did in Europe.  I said for the most part the children were happy to see us because I was flipped off by at least 2 different ~7 year old boys.  There were sheep on the side of the road, not in fences just sitting by the side of a very busy road.  There were no traffic laws.  You could drive on either side of the street and there were definitely no traffic lights which meant there were no walk signs so people would just walk in front of cars.  And of course everyone is honking their horns. 

In Cairo, building were still burned from the revolution.  We went to the Egyptian Museum and they didn’t have a gift shop because it was damaged during the revolution.  There were buildings half built because everyone stopped buying property for fearing that the new government would just take it away from them.  So developers had to stop projects half finished.  There were vendors everywhere wanting to sell you anything for $1, yes 1 US dollar for almost anything.

On a good note, the pyramids were awesome.  I had no idea they would be soooo big.  I feel that in all the pictures I have ever seen of them, you can see all 3 pyramids and the Sphinx so I was expecting them to be so much closer together than they were.  They were super far apart, you wouldn't want to walk from one to the other and this is because they are HUGE!!!  I don’t think you understand, they are massive!  And over 4,000 years old, if this doesn't blow your mind…I don’t know what will!  

After visiting Giza, we went to Sa to view King Titus?? Tomb and the step pyramid, then to the papyrus museum, then back to the pyramids for a sound & light show which was cool in seeing the pyramids at night all lit up but wasn’t awesome in it seemed like a PBS special from the 80’s.  After doing all of this we were exhausted, but the night was not over yet.  No, then we hop on a dinner cruise on the Nile with belly dancing and Whirling dervish – this was super impressive and I wish I had video but my camera was dead (you can see a youtube video here)….battery dying = a common theme of this trip (every day I took so many pictures that my camera was dead by the end of the day).

Then to a hotel to sleep for approximately 6 hours before continuing our tour in Cairo by visiting King Ali’s mosque in the fortress, which was absolutely stunning.  The last stop in Cairo was the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square where the revolution ended (kinda) earlier this year.  The gift shop was closed because of damage done during the revolution.  The building next door to the museum was completely burned and ruined.  How sad that they were so ahead of their time 4,000 years ago and are now so behind. 
The museum was awesome.  King Tut was the only tomb that had not been robbed by the tomb robbers back in the day, which is why King Tut is so famous today.  I had no idea this is the reason for his fame.  I thought he was loved and the best king ever, turns out he was just the only King that did a good job at hiding his tomb.  He was only approximately 19 years old when he died and his tomb was insane.  I can’t fathom what the tomb robbers discovered in the popular king’s tombs because King Tut was buried in multiple caskets inside multiple gold plated boxes with multiple gold masks.

The museum also contained mummified animals of the kings, this was crazy awesome.  We saw dogs, cats, birds, crocodiles (they did this because they were dangerous and prayed for them to become nice), cows, horses, snakes, goats
Most everything from his tomb are now in the Egyptian museum which was crazy awesome to see.  His mummy is still in his tomb in the Valley of Kings, which I will talk about later.  Seeing a mummy is bizarre BTW!

Oh yeah, I should mention our security while traveling to Cairo including a police escort along with a security guard on our bus with a machine gun.  Also, all the museums and hotels have metal detectors.
I should also talk about the vendors and how they wanted money for everything and anything.  They would ask if you wanted them to take a picture of you and would not give you the camera back unless you paid.  They would say free camel rides and then make you pay to get off the camel.  They would put books in your hands and then ask for money.  At the mosque, you had to take off your shoes and they would put the shoe covers over your shoes as you are trying to walk in and ask for money.  They were crazy, persistent, pushy, and always willing to make a deal.  Ultimately, they were nice if you knew what you were doing.

 this is a river full of trash

 the nighttime light show
Muhammad Ali's fortress

1 comment:

Khansa Pavira said...

Where do you come from? :)