Saturday, November 27, 2010

Walk Like An Egyptian!

Mom and Dad are here!  My parents have been in town for the past 2 weeks and we've been very busy tour guides.  To capitalize on all of our time together, we planned a very special trip last weekend.  We had a long weekend off of work for the Islamic holiday Eid al Adha, and we weren't going to let a day go to waste.  So 48 hours after they landed in Dubai we got Mom and Dad back on a plane for our first trip to Cairo, Egypt!

Let's start with the drawbacks.  Cairo is easily the filthiest city I've ever visited.  Waterways are choked to death with trash, there is garbage lining most streets.  It also is home to the worst traffic I've ever seen in my life, we couldn't get anywhere, any time of day, without sitting in 90 minutes of traffic (to go 12 miles).  The monuments are stunningly crowded, and not always well cared for.  And a certain level of corruption and kick-backs dominates the tourist experience.

On the flip side - you're standing in front of artifacts that have survived over 5,000 years of human history.  The story of ancient Egyptian civilization is riveting and if you can swat off of the pick pockets and panhandlers long enough to catch your breath (however smog filled) and enjoy the view, you can allow your mind to take you back to those early days of this amazing civilization.

Unfortunately cameras weren't allowed but the sculptures, contents of King Tut's tomb, and royal mummies at the Egyptian Museum were truly a one in a life step experience.  It was fantastic to explore the only remaining Wonder of the World from the original seven with my parents.  The Pyramids of Giza are an amazing site to behold.  This was definitely on the bucket list!
A visit to the hallowed grounds of the ancient city of Memphis.  This is a huge 3,000 year old limestone statue of Ramses II.

Over 4,500 years old!  The Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara.  This is Egypt's oldest permanent pyramid.  The architect Imhotep was the first to build a pyramid that wasn't made out of perishable materials.
Taking a quick lesson on carpet weaving.  An art form that I totally admire and respect.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza has 2.3 million blocks and each weights 2.5 tons - this is just ONE of them.
The front of the Great Pyramid.  Truly amazing.
I couldn't help it - I walked like an Egyptian.  (Matt indulged me).
The pristine Solar Boat was found in pieces at the base of the Great Pyramid in 1954 and reassembled.
The Great Pyramid.
A beautiful shot of the Pyramid of hafre, Khufu's son.  Originally all three pyramids at Giza were encased in lime polished limestone, you can still see this on the top of Khafre's pyramid.
The only spot where you can see all three pyramids at once!
I couldn't resist.
The Sphinx!  An awe-inspiring view!
We stuck to the local delicacies for lunch like kushari, falafel, hummus, kofta and lentil soup, but dinner we treated ourselves.  Here we are at the revolving restaurant on 41st floor of the Grand Hyatt hotel.  It makes
one 360 degree rotation every 75 minutes.
In front of the Egyptian museum built in 1901.  I assure you no animals were hurt in the shooting of this picture.  Matt is lovingly playing with one of the plentiful stray kittens. :)
To conclude our trip we took a Nile dinner cruise on the Nile Maxim boat.
A whirling dervish!
 We bribed a bell boy to sneak us on top of the roof our our hotel (do not try this at home).  Just so we could capture what the area surrounding the pyramids looks like - yup traffic circles and cinder block buildings.
We had a packed full few days.  By the end of the trip I caught these two resting like mummies!

1 comment:

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