The Giza Pyramids and Egyptian Museum

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Monday, June 6, 2011

Today was dedicated to visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza built in 2,556BC. I described the details in the prior posting. After an hour or so at the pyramids we had lunch at FelFala, a famous falafel chain where we had yummy shwarma and falafel with humus.

Due to crazy traffic of cars, donkeys, tuk tuks, local van/bus, motorcycles and people just walking randomly in between, it took us 1.5 hours to arrive to Tahir Square (where the revolution protests took place) and also where the Egyptian Museum is located. Passing over the bridge and along the Nile it looks like just another city plaza until I see the completely burned out building sitting next to the museum. The truth is all that the revolution served to do is hurt the tourism industry and make for more poverty.

For example Wael, a guy I met on CS, told me that he was a victim of robbery. Wael is 25, he attended Syracuse University in NY, lives part time and works in Germany and is wiser than most 60 year olds I've met. He lives in Heliopolis, the rich neighborhood in Cairo and was in Germany at the time of the revolution. When he returned, he came home to discover that someone had confiscated his home. He shared that even with all the official documents proving his ownership and mounds of money it still took over three weeks for him to finally get the intruders out of his house and for him to regain control of his property. More about Wael later.

In the meantime, Nasser took me through the Egyptian museum highlighting the important pharaohs and the significance of the hieroglyphic scenes. Then he gave me time to peruse on my own, focusing on the most impressive treasures in the museum; the room dedicated to King Tutankhamen. The interesting thing was to see that he is the only King with gold treasures preserved still in Egypt’s possession. Also interesting were the multiple wood coffin huts, four in total, built to fit one inside the other, actually built and assembled within the tomb itself. Then the two jewel lined wooden coffins that housed the third solid gold mummy coffin and finally studying the famous gold mask.

The afternoon was spent once gain at Mini mall planning the rest of my tour in Egypt with the agency that Nasser works with. It turned out due to a highjacking of the train tracks, I would no longer be traveling to Aswan on sleeper train but by plane tomorrow morning. Which meant I would be spending one more night sleeping in Cairo.

This was a good opportunity for me to utilize CS, meet some local peers and hopefully see a little of the Cairo nightlife. I got two prompt replies. One from Wael, informing me that he was already hosting a couple of guys but that he is available to meet for a drink and another positive reply from Mohammad aka Mo who not only offered me a place in his family home but could take me to the airport at 5:00AM.

Wael, a native from Cairo got super lost coming to the Mini Mall café that it took him two hours to arrive. After schmoozing with Nasser, we headed downtown where we met up with Mo and the three of us went for a drink at Four Bells, a cool lounge club/restaurant/terrace. It was fun to actually experience a little night life in Cairo. In preparation for a 4:00AM wake up call, we called it an early night by 2:00AM.
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