Egypt Trip - Cairo Sights 1

Cairo Sights 1 | Cairo Sights 2 | Pyramids | Sharm el-Sheikh | Mount Sinai | St. Catherine's Monastery | Camels

I found Cairo to be an amazing city that both excited and drained me. My first experience was the cab ride to the hotel. I knew the Egyptians were crazy drivers and wasn't surprised by the ride. The lines on the road mean nothing to the drivers, they actually seem to prefer to center the car over them. In heavy traffic the drivers weave all over place passing other cars within inches. The drivers main means of communication is the horn as they rarely use their headlights and blinkers. Somehow it all works, they drive like maniacs, but I can't say they're bad drivers.

The driving didn't phase me, but being a pedestrian in Cairo was more of a scare. As the drivers don't pay attention to lights and lines, crossing the street was always an adventure. It first seemed impossible, but after shadowing the locals I started to get it down. The drivers do try to avoid the pedestrians, but only at the last second. A local told me to walk, not run across the roads as the drivers had a better chance of avoiding me. No matter what, it was like playing Frogger every time I crossed Cairo's busy streets.

The other surprise of Cairo was the pollution. I opened the windows of the hotel room on my first morning and only saw a bright brown sky. No clouds, no sun. Somehow it burned off during the day, but the smog was back every morning.

I spent the first day in Cairo by myself, but the next day I met up with my sister and her son and began to tour the city. We first went to the Egyptian Museum. No cameras were allowed so I have nothing to show from the experience. The museum was a cluttered collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. There were no guidebooks and a single map on one wall made no sense so we had a hard time taking in the several thousand items on display. The highlights of the museum were the mummy rooms and Tutankhamun display. The mummy rooms had several creepy mummies of various pharaohs. The Tutankhamun display had many golden items including two sarcophagi and the mask. I'm not sure what the current traveling Tutankhamun show has as all the main items seem to be in the museum.

The next day we first visited the Pyramids and then shopped the twisty paths of the Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar. The bazaar had all kinds of shops and all kinds of people trying to haggle us out of our money. I was hussled out of a lot of money for some saffron spice. They first tried to pass something else as saffron, but I eventually made it out of the store with what appears to be the exotic spice.

Update: After the trip I took the spice to a local spice shop and found it was indeed saffron though not very fresh. The other spice was turmeric, which is less than a 100th the price of saffron.

Courtyard Near Hotel

Egyptian Museum

Cairo Traffic

Shoes in Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar

Spices in in Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar

Tea at Fishawi's Coffee House

Egypt Trip Cairo Sights 2

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November 14-23 2007