Cairo: Bucket List Day
Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
32Trip End Oct 26, 2010
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‘Have you found joy in your life?’ 'Has your life brought joy to others?’”
- Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), The Bucket List
At the advice of Cosmo magazine, on a little notecard I made a list of "25 Things To Do Before I Die" on July 27,1992, just after turning 22. Number 6 - "Go to Egypt." Check.
I landed in Egypt around 9am, after my 11:30pm overnight flight from Casablanca was delayed by three hours
Battling Cairo traffic, I eventually made it to the hotel and was welcomed by a swarm of Egyptian men full of smiles. My dad had been in this hotel twice in the last year and he was clearly one of their all-time favorite customers. After a hundred "salams" and a hotel tour by the cutest Egyptian ever, Mohammad, I found Mary. About three months ago Mary randomly text me asking what I was doing. When I replied with "Booking my ticket to Egypt, want to come?", she replied, "Yes," and now we are both proud owners of Egyptian Visas. She kicks ass. We both were on no sleep, but we were motivated to hit it, as we only had the one day in Cairo.
A few minutes later we were whisked away in the "Lady Egypt" van with our guide Alfi to visit yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. He was a pro and knew what we had to accomplish in a few hours; first up: Saqqara. On the 15 mile drive out there you drive through an insanely crowded and dirty city, much like Mexico City or San Paulo. But when you reach the edge of town, it is suddenly an endless brown desert. We more or less had the place to ourselves. It was practically noon, hot as Hades, and there was our first pyramid, The Step Pyramid.
To be honest, most of the Egyptian history tends to go in one ear and out the other
With our first taste of what we came for, we were off to Giza. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. The pyramid is the tomb of the fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu; it took 20-years to build this puppy circa 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres (480.6 ft) high and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years
A short ride to the back makes you feel like you actually are out there in the middle of nowhere...until you get to the camel ride lot. Yes, more camel riding. I took one for the team because it was Mary's turn. The sham here is $15 for a 15 minute ride and a quintessential photo op. Good enough. The coolest thing about it was as we left we turned and a large group of men, perfectly choreographed, went down on their knees in unison, for afternoon prayer.
After yet another ridicuous animal ride we headed down to the infamous Sphinx, standing guard. We learned that carvings with animal heads guarded tombs, while statues with human heads guarded temples
We headed out with a parade of young Egyptian girls donning all shades of pink around their heads, who thought we were Britney Spears. Camera phones whipped out and we were the stars now. Reminded me of India.
In three hours we saw some of the most impressive things on this planet. When you think about how they were made, when they were made, and who made them, your head can spin. We decide to go with that theme and high tailed in into the city for a night with The Whirling Dervishes...