After our safari, Rebecca, Rachelle, and I took off for Egypt.
When we booked our trip, we didn’t realize how ambitious we were. The flight across Africa took almost 20 hours.
From Tanzania, we stopped in the Doha Airport in Qatar, which is both upscale – ie, with multiple Armani stores – and bizarre – ie, with a giant yellow teddy bear impaled by a desk-lamp as a centerpiece:
We had to sleep on the floor in the airport to catch our morning flight out. Though tired and hungry, we arrived in Cairo without too much trouble.
Now I’m sure you know what we really came to Cairo for. And yes, we did get a picture of the Pyramids from inside a combination KFC-Pizza Hut: A true victory for chicken-lovers everywhere.
We also got some other pictures of them:
And we also saw this thing. I forget what it’s called:
Pretty cool. That evening we also went out on a boat-cruise on the Nile. Rachelle put on a blinky dress and twirled for everyone: I did the same: And there was a belly-dancer, who had to put up with a woman from the audience jumping onto the stage to upset her. It must have been awful for her, but from our seats we were laughing and cringing, hard: Paid entertainer on the right, usurper on the left
The next day we went to the Egyptian Museum. I’ve never seen so much stuff in a museum before. Packed! It has the atmosphere of an overstocked CostCo.
The King Tut exhibit was gorgeous, though.
After that we went out to Saqqara, too see the step pyramid of Djoser, which at 5500 years old is solidly the oldest building I’ve ever seen:
Nearby we took a whirlwind (literally 10 minutes) tour of the Imhotep Museum, where I learned the Imhotep was the guy who started designing fluted stone columns – he was trying to make them look more like organic materials so people would accept them. Interesting!
Now, all those sites made Cairo a worthwhile visit, but there were some barriers to enjoying it completely. They looked like this:
4 years ago Egypt got swept into the Arab Spring revolution, and the political situation there has been a little tense ever since.
Being there didn’t feel dangerous, really. But it wasn’t completely comfortable, either.
Once, we caught a whiff of some tear-gas that had been fired off in Tahrir Square, a half-mile away or so. Even from that distance it stung our eyes and noses. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be caught in a cloud of the stuff.
Rachelle left on January 24th, but Rebecca and I caught our flight on the 25th, Egypt’s Police Day, and also the anniversary of the revolution.
On that day a woman got shot in the face and killed downtown. Cars got flipped on Cairo’s main road, and a few others blew up and hurt some cops. And our cab driver got tear-gassed on the way to pick us up from the airport.
All in all Rebecca and I felt very relieved once our plane lifted off. Later on we would learn that 16 people had died in Cairo on Police Day.
A very humbling lesson in travel safety!
So Egypt inspired both awe and fear. I’m glad we went, but I’ll wait a little while before I consider going back.