Our Last Night in Cairo

Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
Trip End Nov 19, 2008

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We arrived in Cairo 6 am sharp. We were happy to see Nora and Mustafa again but we were tired and at this point, we actually just want to check in and freshen up. It's too early to check in and so we were taken for a trip to Coptic Cairo. Well, the good thing is we get to see Cairo , early in the morning. It is pleasant because there isn't much traffic and the sun is just to beginning to show

We reached the Coptic Cairo area and again many, many police personnel , shields, weaponary - certainly not a common sight for us Malaysians. I am reminded again that an attack is very real but somehow, I'm getting used to it. Coptic Cairo is very interesting and certainly an eye-opener. For us in Malaysia, we hear arabic and we think Islam but the churches in Egypt have their songs , sermons and service is in arabic . It's weird because it sounds like we're in a mosque but we are actually in a church Somehow ,the tales of the saints in Egypt like St George, the dragon slayer ( I have always thought he was English but he turned out to be  a Syrian.), St Catherines and tales of the flight of the Holy Family, I felt were a lot more interesting. So perhaps, my CPU wasn't that jammed up,  it's just selective.   

 We were also  brought way down to the dungeon where St George  was tortured with spikes and iron balls. You could the hang the iron spikes around your neck  just to feel what he would have gone through for his faith.

We were  brought to the lovely Hanging Church and then to the chapel where the Holy family stayed when they fled to Egypt.   I am loving every second of it and Nora our guide is a Egyptian christian and so very well versed with this.  But then Clarissa was not feeling well and the group looked  pathetically at me to end the tour and go back to the hotel. I guess they are not enjoying Egypt as much as I am. As the oldest in group, I certainly looked more alive than them at that point. And so I ended the tour and  we decided to skip the Khan-El Khalil Bazaar tour and lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. Whilst I was a bit annoyed with the travel agent for not being flexible enough to reschedule the Bazaar trip to later in the evening, it was actually the best decision we made.

Why?  Because Holiday Inn City Stars,  upgraded us to a lovely suite ( thanks to our Priority Membership) and the hotel  was next to a modern shopping mall and  the mall rats were happy to see a modern, clean , air-conditioned mall like the ones back home.

And so we decided to spend the last night in Cairo in a shopping mall. First stop was  lunch and we were so happy to see Chinese food ( including me and  even though it was just a food court stall). Chris was delirious when he saw his  MacDonalds and jumped on it immediately. So we had chinese food and MacD . Shopping was great, too because we found a supermarket that had all the local delicacies and the egyptian cotton beddings.  So, we bought all the nuts, nougats, sweets and bedsheets with 100% egyptian cotton. No bargaining, no hustlers and guaranteed local price. In fact ,Annie was so engrossed in her shopping for nuts that a local looked at her and complained that she should be at some bazaar meant for tourist instead of taking up space meant for locals.

The kids went back to the hotel to enjoy the modern amenties of the hotel. We were really enjoying the hotel so much and the shopping at the mall  that we decided against taking a cab to Khan El Khalil bazaar that evening  and instead shopped at the mini Khan El Khalil at the City of Stars. Annie and I picked up more souvenirs and again no stress of haggling. Finally, the shame of it all, we just picked up a bucket of KFC for dinner. The KFC had to go through security check to get into the hotel - smells and all.

That night , we tucked into our KFC, watched movies on satellite channels,  bathed in luxurious LOCCITANE toileteries and slept like a baby on the smooth and cooling Egyptian cotton bedsheets.

The next morning, Chris and I had a lovely swim and  then a sumptuous breakfast . Nora and the driver was on time to pick us for the airport and it was  time to say goodbye. It was magical, adventourous, tiring, and  definitely,  definitely a time of my life....
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