Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cairo, Egypt!!

Last weekend I went to Cairo. There's a lot to say, so I'll try to be brief.

We arrived very tired and frazzled (6 girls, 2 boys) and checked into our sketchy little hotel. As college students living in the Middle East, we were ecstatic just to have hot water and clean floors, but my father would have had a heart attack if we tried to make him stay there. My standards have become sub par.

Then, we headed off to the Khan el-Khalili bazaar to buy some cheap Egyptian goods. This was when I discovered some interesting things:
1. For an hour of my "time", I am worth an average of 1.000 camels
2. Marriage proposals are not as romantic as they're cut out to be
3. Egyptian men are shameless pigs (in a non-stereotyping-while-still-definitely-stereotyping kind of way)
My friend Zan received the best pick up line, however: "I will kill my wife for you."
If that isn't the most convincing line you've ever heard, I don't know what is.

 I recognize that I look dumb in this picture, but that isn't the point. This is my conservatively dressed, lovely friend group at the bazaar. We were hot, sweaty, and sick of being proposed to. I bought 2 scarves for the equivalent of $4 each.
Next, we drove back to our hotel's neighborhood.
 This is the Nile river! And a woman, dressed to impress.

The next day, we went to the pyramids. They were large and cool, but it was hot and dusty, and the locals were acting weird.
 This awkward photo is of me trying to look like I'm kissing the sphynx, but actually I'm just poking it with my nose (like always), and blocking it from view of the camera, as a woman also ruins the photo. I kept wondering if she was hot. Good question.
 Then, due to my shockingly white and unusual physical appearance, or maybe my haram dress (sarcasm) this random chick came up to me and forced me to hold her child as they took a photo of me. They'll probably tell their friends they spoke to me and I'm their friend. It was really awkward, and I didn't want to hold the baby, although she was cute. Does the child know that this might be her last time showing her knees in public?
 Pyramids!! They were beautiful, large, imposing, etc.etc. Each block was a lot bigger than they look now, I don't really know how they did it.
 The girls at the pyramids! My dress was the most scandalous thing I've worn in a month, but the other tourists from Europe were dressed like prostitutes, so I felt OK. I covered up when we went back to the city.
We went to the museum with the mummies but weren't allowed to have cameras. King Tut's hat/gold face plate that he was buried with was INCREDIBLE. Gold everywhere. I don't understand how they made all of these things in his 19 years of life, or how long it must have taken after he died to create the tomb and everything. It was stunning. That night we went to the best meal of my life, with really bad Middle Eastern wine. Then we went to a dance club on the Nile, like cool locals.
 Our last day, we went to Salah al-Din's unbelievably beautiful mosque/palace/house. It was even more beautiful in real life, and it has made me want to go into as many mosques as possible before they leave. I know churches are beautiful too, but maybe its the strangeness of the mosque that makes it more interesting to me?
 View of the city. Cairo!
And, a parting note. The official Egyptian military museum is proud that they managed to cUpture a tank from Israel in 1973. I'm not making fun of them, really, its just a little tiring to have all official English translations in the Middle East be this bad.

I had a great weekend. I'm going to Aqaba (the sea port of Amman, on the Red Sea) next weekend with my friends for a little bit of sun and relaxation. More places on my list for the rest of the year are Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel (Palestine).


  1. If you can make corrections, I think you meant 1,000 camels, not 1.000 (I am assuming you can buy fractional camels). You may want to mention the range of offers as well--like from a mere 50 to maybe 5,000. I like statistics, you know.

    Did you chat with the lady whose baby you held? what was the kid's name? does she have a twitter account so you can stay in touch?

    Thanks for identifying me as having standards. Great report and we are glad we talked on the phone. Stay safe and get a new internship.


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