Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cairo Trip!

How to encapsulate Cairo in a blog post? It was, in short, a land of contrasts. It's clichéd for sure, but it does seem like time has paused there. The Man always says that when he moved to London, he experienced not just culture but also 'generation' shock -- like he'd leapfrogged a generation or two.

Khan al-Khalili Market.


- Meeting The Man's family, of course. They were so welcoming and friendly, even though I couldn't understand (for the most part) what they were on about! We drove to his hometown in the Nile Delta and I met loads of relatives, who all gave us gifts!

Contemplating the pyramids.

- When Ayman's aunt and cousin -- who wear the niqab, the full face covering -- took me aside after meeting them for the 'reveal'. I already knew they were friendly but showing me their faces to assure me they were 'ok' really proved it.

- Watching a mummy in the Egyptian Museum that was being moved back into its coffin after lab tests. We happened to be in the right place at the right time, and to see how the staff treated the mummy with such respect was spectacular. Smelling the mummy (a sweet cloying scent) was overpowering. To be right next to something from so long ago, without all the wrappings and the glass case, was amazing.

- The Pyramids. They actually exceeded my expectations. We took a horse ride into the desert to really see them from afar and you can't help but be impressed. We went inside two of the pyramids and it was hard to fathom we were inside the burial chambers of ancient pharaohs.

- Taking a feluca on the Nile at night. Getting away from the car horns and traffic and listening to the water lap against the sailboat was bliss.

What I didn't like so much:

- The pollution and smog. I could smell it even as we descended. Not cool.

- The disparity between the rich and the poor. We saw people living in tombs in graveyards, battling to survive.

- The 'Randoms'. Brick buildings that sprout up everywhere, without planning permission and proper construction. People move in, then the government can't throw them out. It's scary to see some of the poor construction and you shudder for the safety of the people there.


MikeH said...

Sounds like a great trip! Nice photos, too. Stop over at my place, I have a surprise for you ;)

Nancy J. Parra said...

This was nice. Thanks for sharing and the photos!