Justin at the thyseen museum which holds ...
Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
74Trip End Sep 11, 2007
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Me: Excuse me Sir, could you point me in the direction of the Ned Kelly paintings?
Museum Guide: Sorry, I am not sure I know of that... what era is that?
Me: Oh does not matter, what about Dogs playing Poker? That is pretty famous?
Guide: Um sorry sir I am not really familiar about that painting eithier...
Me: Oh it is ok... I will keep looking. I am sure it is around here somewhere...
Me: Oh by the way how much is the big painting worth???
Guide: Would be worth at least 500,000 Euros.....
Me: Hmmmm, I will give you $43 Australian Dollars and a baseball cap for it? What do you say?
Guide: (Laughing)... you cannot be serious....
Well hello all from hot old Cairo, Egypt.... but before I tell you about a few little things thought I would share the experience of Madrid with you all....
So off to the Casblanca airport, via taxi. After polietly asking the taxi driver to use the meter which he refused too, we decided to have a bargining mouth war - English Vs Arabic. So after I agreed on a price which I thought was fair I decided to give him the silent treatment (because if I kept arguing he could have stopped the taxi and I would have been stranded).... so once we got to the airport and I gave him the correct fare - he started going off.... In this case I implemented the Austin Powers mode of agrument and asked him to "Talk to the hand because the face ain't listening"... he was not too pleased to say the least.
So on the plane with no troubles and on my way to Madrid, Spain for 24 hours. Now as I had not invested in a guide for spain/europe I thought that I could just find somewhere nice and easy.. hmmm I forgot that it is summer and everyman, woman and dog decides to come to spain for a while... So after asking a million questions to the information place at the airport I was pointed in the direction of the Metro and told to head to the central area of "Sol".
Well the MET in Melbourne should come across and look at how to run a train system.... very impressive. I defiantly got my money worth with the train ticket I bought as I spent about an 1 hour on the train for a simple 20 min trip.... but eveyone was super friendly and was more than happy to help a guy with TOURIST tattooed on his head!
Now a little background info for you all, whilst in Morroco, I invested in a Good Travel Charm from a medicine man (which unfortuanly is in the shape of a bullett and does not go well with security). So anyway being in spain with no accomadation booked or finding cheap accom without paying 60 Euros for a single night... I come across a Tourist Information place and as soon as I mention that I am Australian, this little spainard man wanted to know everything about Australia (Crocodilles and The Crocidile Man) after a good old chat he pulls some strings with his friends at a youth hostel where I was given a bed for the night... good luck just is rolling my way.
The hostel was excellent and my first warm shower for about 10 days was an absoulte pleasure. So after hours walking around Madrid lost as anyone can get (love it though), I find myself in a litttle dark bar with some locals sipping on the finiest Spainsh Beer and chewing on what could be called a Spainish Hot Dog. Wondering back to the hostel (half cut... bigger glasses than I thought) meet up with a few other travellers and we headed out to see some live Jazz.... great night. Mind you the old spainards do not even think about going out until about midnight... so this gave me a little time for a siesta!!! Hmmmm sleep! All in all it was a great night and all in all it costed me a small frick'n fortune for some beers and entertainment.
So next day have about 6 hours to kill in Madrid. So as I am a sophisticated and art loving kinda guy, thought I would head across to the the Thyseen Musuem of art. Now the first thing I noticed is that Dulux could learn a few things about paint protection from the old guys in the 15th century... some of these paintings where 400 years old and the paint had not even cracked which I thought was pretty impressive, as for the ones that did have cracks through them... don't worry I had my trustee Black Texta to polish them up a bit..... only joking.
I think I have watched too many robbery movies, as the first thing I did when I walked in was to look at the security systems and think "Now if I was going to steal a picasso painting how would I do it." Too make matters worse, me walking with my head looking at the skylight windows and security doors may have bought a little bit of too much attention as I think I had some security people following me for a while...
So after wondering around there for a while, headed out to sip expensive coffee and just relax. All in all Madrid is a beautiful city and will defiantly be back very soon to take in more of the sites and even perhaps offer a little more for that big painting I liked.
So onto Cairo, via Barcelona. Arrived in Cairo about 1am. Had already organised a pick up and accom for the first couple of nights so there was a nice big sign with my name on it... well at least somethings are going to plan. So there I am, me and a little egyptian man next to me, watching the carousel go around and around and around.... no backpack.
Being the well travelled traveller I am, I had some sort of inkling that when I checked my backpack from Morrocco to Cairo (Did not want to haul my pack around for 24 hours in Spain) that I would not see it again for a while... so I packed a few little extra things into my hand luggage.... luckily. So not to see my bags was no suprise and believe it or not I could not really care at that stage... cause I had not slept on the plane I had been up for 24 hours and was feeling kinda delirious (it could be all those imodium I AM still taking when travelling).... so left my details and address and headed to my hotel.
Cairo is hot and I mean hot and sticky, actually I mean Hot, Sticky and just plain uncomfortable. That is all I have to say about that. Next day at breakfast meet a few other travellers and one (Simon) who is planning to do a similar trip through Egypt as I was - Aswan back to Cairo. So I have a new travelling partner from the UK... So wearing the same gear from yesterday we head out to the Egyptian Musuem.
Now for those that I have been to Egypt before you will know that if you are a student everything is half price and can save you shitloads on admission and travel. So after being an abvious tourist asking people where I can get a fake ID card I am told that they do not exist etc... 5 minutes into the cairo streets I am presented with a nice little ISIC card for the mere price of $20 AUD - beautiful!!! So I am now a student travelling the world.... perhaps I should tell people that I am studying Egyptian History and trying to uncover Pyramids in the outback of Australia.
The Egyptian Musuem is very interesting... even though everything is virtually thrown on the ground for you to walk around and touch and graffitti on (Any dickheads reading this who thought it was cool to put their name on one of the tombs... get a life!!!). The two highlights were the real mumies that are kept in a air controlled environment - very frick'n freaky. They still have hair and toe fingernails. Some of these mummies of the royal families are 3000 years old... cannot really descripe it you just have to see it.
Then there was the riches of Tukenkharman - some really rich Pharoa who was pretty popular with the people and the woman. There are famous photos of his death mask (Gold and Blue face head piece) and it looks absoulty amazing in real life... quite a highlight... But talk about an ego, he wanted to be burried not in one tomb but 3.... whilst his family and others got nothing....selfish prick! :-)
So wondering around for a couple of hours just looking at things older than Australia. Really sunk in how small we are on this earth... all in all a grand old day and I even learnt a bit too...
So another uncomfortable night sleep between the heat and the toilet. When there is a knock at my door at 4am... "Excuse me sir, some people have your bags here". So off I go to collect them (in my boxers) thinking that it is just in reception, when I am told that we need to go 500 metres down the street to the truck..... before I can go back to my room to dress, I am put in the elevator and before I know it I am walking down the main street of Cairo in my boxer shorts.... this gave a few weird looks to people in the street... But get this, when I get to the truck he asks for a tip! Where the hell do you think I have my money on me Mr???? Hmmmm. He had a good old laugh
So tonight off to Aswan (15 hour train ride overnight) and then some more sight seeing and a flueko trip (sailboat up the Nile) for a couple of days... Don;t worry I will see the Pyramids on my return to Cairo...
Until next time stay safe... Jay
Defination of Nervous: Justin on a flight to Cairo reading the paper about the Sept 11 incidents, when one Arabic man decides to have a big old loud agrument with a hostess that did not sound too friendly.