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Cairo, Egypt

El diario de viaje.

Viajar por egipto es toda una experiencia cuando se realiza por libre.
Aquí os explicaré la ruta que hice durante 23 días y espero que sea de ayuda para que otros viajeros puedan planificar la suya.

Este es el itinerario:
El Cairo, Asuán, Luxor, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheik, Dahab, Alejandría, Siwa

Por ahora las imágenes están en la web www.my.opera.com/pajaru

Llegada al Cairo

permalink written by  alexander on May 10, 2007 from Cairo, Egypt
from the travel blog: viaje por egipto 23 días por libre
tagged Egipto, Viajes, Diario and Cairo

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Cairo, Egypt

We arrived in Cairo after a ten hour overnight layover in the Athens airport feeling drained and a bit wary at the thought of what we were about to get ourselves into. The first day we spent sleeping off the jet lag while puttering around the hotel and local neighbourhood.

A bit about the area were staying in; it's the Muslim neighbourhood of downtown Cairo. I am probably the only female over ten without my hair covered I've seen in this area of town. Grocery stores? Hah. English speaking shop-keepers? Hah. People who don't gawk at long blonde hair? Hah. The girls all seem to giggle when they see James's ponytail too, it's cute when they do it though. They guys are kinda creepy about it. That said though, after staying here a few days I've grown pretty comfortable with the locals. Everyone has been very kind to us, and a few have even greeted us on the streets in English.

Our first day of sightseeing we went to the Egypt Museum, the repository of Egypt's artefacts, open for a hundred and fifty or so years. The building is huge and packed with pottery, statues, sarcophagus, and papyrus manuscripts. The galleries with King Tutankhamun's treasures and the jewellery were my favourites.

The coolest part of this day though came later in the evening. The terrace of our hotel was booked for an engagement party that evening and the music started blaring before the sun went down. And when I say blaring, I mean making stuff in our room several floors from the roof rattle sorta blaring. Have I mentioned yet how much I'm digging the local music? I've always got the TV in our room turned to a music channel :). When the celebrants arrived they did en mass, the women doing that cool allllalalalalala thing in super high voices that for some reason western women seem incapable of copying. The party had been in full swing for awhile when the hotel's owner invited us to go up to the terrace and watch the festivities with another employee of the hotel who we'd chatted with a few times. The roof was packed and I felt pretty awkward being up there, but we found some seats out of the way and watched the dancing, which was a total treat. The guys were on the floor and danced soooo expressively, using their full bodies and rather sensuous movements in a way I'm more accustomed to seeing women dance. A gentleman, a relation of the couple I think, even came over and offered James and I some sodas. It was a once and a life time chance to get a glimpse at the Arabic culture. One thing I can say for sure, these people know how to party.

The next morning we were up early as we had booked a tour to go see the pyramids!! Our driver for the day collected us from the hotel and we headed out to Dahshur to see the first pyramid of the day, The Red Pyramid of Sneferu.

This is one of the few pyramids you can go into without making special arrangements so we hastily climbed our way to the entrance to be meet by a hysteria inducingly small tunnel which led into the inner chambers.

Thighs burning, we made it down into the first chamber where we could look up at the interior structure of the pyramid.

Next up we headed to Saqqarah to see the famous step Pyramid of Djoser. Unfortunately, you cant go inside Djoser, but there were some tombs in the Djoser complex that we were able to go into. Photography isnt allowed in the tombs but me being me snapped a few anyhow.

At one point a worker invited us to take some photos on the sly and then took us into another tomb beside the first we went into and allowed me to snap a couple good shots in their while telling us a bit about the reliefs.

This would have been awesome if he didn't expect an exorbitant basheesh in return.

On our way from Saqqara to Giza our driver stopped at one of the many hand-woven carpet schools and we were given a demonstration of the three kinds of woven carpets the students learn to make before being taken to the sale room/gallery upstairs.

Here James and I came to the realization that were weak in the face of gorgeous material objects and not the best bargainers. We came away with a good-sized rug woven of all natural un dyed wool with a rather modern linear design. Sure we don't have a house, but we have a damn fine Egyptian hand woven rug to put in one. :P

Continuing on our way we came to our final destination for the day, the Giza plateau, home of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid.

By this point in the day our moods had taken a down turn due to the constant barrage of people expecting money. We tried to set this aside though and booked our camel ride around the pyramids.

The pyramid complex is quite large and to attempt to get all the vantage points I wanted for photographical reasons on foot would have been exhaustive. On our way out of the stables my mood started taking even more of a down turn when I saw the state of some of the animals kept in the stables not authorized by the government as ours way. Horses with saddle sores and way to many bones sticking out. The animals were in no condition to be worked but all had saddles on their backs. Making our way along the trail to the pyramids we came across the most unsettling part of the trip. In the not so far distance were the well picked over but still fleshy skeletal remains of a horse. I looked away and tried to shove it out of my mind so I could enjoy the pyramids but at this point both James and I were feeling morally filthy.

By being tourists here we were inadvertently encouraging a system where men relied on underhand and dishonest practices to weasel money out of ignorant tourists and animals were apparently underfed and overworked for the amusement of tourists and financial benefit of their owners.

We continued on our tour of the pyramids, but at this point neither of our hearts were really in it. I wanted more than anything to leave Cairo after our visit to Giza and get to India stat.

On our way back to the hotel though we ate a nice lunch with our guide and then he stopped at a papyrus gallery so we could see how papyrus was made and look at the paintings. A really nice guy gave us a demonstration of how papyrus was made, which by the way is really easy and we plan to try it when we get home, and then explained some of the stories behind the historical and religious painting reproductions they had. We viewed the gallery for awhile and in the end selected a few for ourselves and as gifts. I wish I could take pictures of them to show you how cool they are but the paintings are all in a tube being mailed to the states as we speak. They, like the rug, will look splendid in that house we don't have hehe.

As we were checking out we got into a conversation with our salesman and the other clerks about American politics and how distorted the media's representation of Muslims and their quality of life really is. Sure Egypt isn't Iraq, but their ways of life aren't to dissimilar, though totally foreign to an American. That was one of the more rewarding moments of the day.

permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on October 26, 2008 from Cairo, Egypt
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged Pyramids, Cairo and Egypt

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The Cairo experience - Yin side

Cairo, Egypt

Ok, I need to Yin Amanda's Yang of Cairo. Not that I don't totally
understand it, as we get a lot of attention and women are treated a
bit different here. The culture is far from our own and it can take a lot out
of you. That being said... I am having an awesome time here. After holing
up for a few days in the hotel after our pyramid run the energy

Getting our Visa's for India has been a test in patience over
that which you cannot control. Sunday (which is like Monday for us) I was
too tired and worn out to go try for our Visa's, decided to go on Monday
instead. So Monday we realised we hadn't gotten our passport size photo's
done so had to get them before we could go to the Indian consulate
office. So to town we go. The owner of the hotel personally drove us into
downtown Cairo and was a really nice gesture. Dropped us off in front of
a Kodak photo center and bid us farewell. The process of getting the
pictures was painless and cheap and we got 8 copies each. Little more
than we needed but hey you never know. It was probably around 10am and
the consulate closed by 11. We figured we wouldn't make it so blew doing
that off til Tuesday. *FYI the Indian consulate office is right around
the corner from the photo shop. who knew? :| Ok so Tuesday we head down
to the Indian consulate office and low and behold... Indian holiday and
they're closed. sigh... Oh well wont let that get us down, we can just
come back tomorrow. Which went quite well, found out we had to wait til
Sunday for the paperwork to go through and to come back then. Amanda is
ready to GTFO of Cairo at this point. I must point out she gets lots of
attention and together well it's almost 2 fold. Wears on us a bit, but
personally I get used to it in doses. So.. I'll skip the boring stuff.
It's now Sunday, Visa's should be done today and all will be golden.

I've been making lots of friends here, everyone is so friendly its hard
not to.

I can't understand everyone but it doesn't really matter. I find
using sounds, hand gestures and a smile works real well. The women who
work here in the hotel tend to talk or hand communicate with me a lot.
It's quite fun "talking" with them.

One in particular, Doaa, whose name I can never say right is pronounced something like Dew Eye but stress the eye with a hint of A. Yeah I can't do it either.

Anyway she speaks a fair amount of English and is always trying to learn more. We use Google's language translator a lot to get our points across. Now she's Muslim, 20,
single and I'm not. Being as I like to flirt... lol things get
interesting. She's an amazing person and Amanda wants to put her in her
pocket and bring her home with us. In the hotel she's very open and able
to be more social with me, in public however she an Amanda hang on to
each other as we walk about and well... I hang by myself. Here the guys
hang together and hold hands and the women stick to themselves and do the
same. It is what is I reckon. No matter we have a great time. Doaa thinks
very highly of Amanda and mirrors her actions. It's very cute.

She has taken us to all the places we would have never found on our own and
personally has made the last few days here perfect for me. From eating at
local restaurants up narrow stairs I wouldn't think of going up to eating
street cooked corn and riding the music party boats on the Nile.

Had some of the bestest chocolate shakes ever while enjoying a licorice shisha.

Also toured the local park that allows you to see most of Cairo and has
really nice cafe's to relax in.

Went to the Khan El Kalili Bazaar which is the largest and I think oldest in the world, showed us how a real Egyptian handles the vendors and just has a good time with herself and us.

I do wish she could be free of her religious boundaries but I respect
them and acknowledge as much as I can. She's pretty lax about them which
is good. We're really going to miss her, I feel she will be a great
addition to the circle of friends.

I must mention then entire hotel staff here at the Arabian Nights. They
go out of their way, are totally caring and very generous people. I feel
more like a friend than some tourist and that means a lot to me. My
journey to Egypt now feels accomplished and I have learned a lot from
them. BTW... These people being scary and bad is total horseshit. These
have been some of the friendliest people ever. They openly welcome us at
every turn and no where else have I ever experienced that to that magnitude. Far as
negatives.. its like any other tourist trap, in those spots it's about
money and how they're going to get it from you and that's anywhere on the
planet. Knowing that and knowing how to say no will save you a lot of
problems. I'll miss this place.
One last note. Riding around here in a taxi or any form of vehicle is
INSANE! I love it, I laugh and laugh and laugh while riding around. The
lanes on the road don't mean anything. There are no traffic cops, they
don't even drive with lights on at night. They use their horns like
they're going out of style and they're headlights are used to get ur
attention. They drive fast and sometimes against on coming traffic. Yet I
haven't seen an accident and I've been riding a lot. Tons of fun!!!

Addendum: Scored a few Shisha pipes that look awesome, Have gone wandering through a large section of the Khan bazaar and the scope of the place is mind boggling. The city has so much history it would take a very extensive amount of time to see it all. I hope I can come back someday to continue seeing it. We're off to Pondicherry India's Auroville and it will probably be a bit before we do another major blog update. Will do our best though.


permalink written by  Slade's Elucidation on November 4, 2008 from Cairo, Egypt
from the travel blog: Slade's Elucidation
tagged Cairo, Egypt, AlAzhar, ArabianNights and KhanElKhalili

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Tag 0

Cairo, Egypt

Der erste Tag in Kairo war sehr anstrengend aber schِn. Am wichtigsten war es noch die fehlenden Dinge zu besogen. Darunter waren nicht zuletzt die Lebensmittel für die nنchsten vier Tage, in denen ich keinen Ort passiergen werde, sondern auch einen Kocher, da mich Dennis Kocher per Post nicht mehr rechtzeigt vor dem Abflug erreichte. Ein paar neue Sandalen waren auch mit dabei.

Glücklicherweise nahm sich Massimo Zeit mit mir die Dinge zu besorgen. Er ist ebenfalls hier bei den Salesianern Don Boscos zu Gast, die ich noch von meiner letzten Tour (Kapstadt - Kairo) kannte. Damals hatte ich mit Dennis auf verschiedene Hilfsprojekte in Afrika aufmerksam gemacht. Darunter auch das der Salesianer. Mit einer Schule für Flüchtlingskinder aus Darfur helfen sie hier den Vertriebenen aus dem Sudan.

Massimo ist Arabistikstudent aus Catalania/Italien und konnte mich daher sehr gut bei der Verstنndigung unterstützen. Auch mein arabischer Wortschatz ist durch um einiges gewachsen.

Am Abend kehrte ich noch in einer Gasse ein, wo man mit Shisha und Tee reichte. In Gesallschaft vieler ؤgypter die ebenso ihren tag ausklingen lieكen oder sich bei Brettspielen vergnügten, genoك ich den letzten Abend, bevor es ernst wird. Als ich schon entschlossen war zu gehen kamen ein paar freche kleine Jungs vorbei die mich mit groكen Augen anschauten. Dann ergriff einer mein Wasserglas, von dem ich sowieso nicht getrunken hatte um mich vor "Pharaohs Rache" zu bewahren, trank einen Schluck und spuckte ihn mir zielsicher ins Gesicht. Damit hatte ich sofort die Aufmerksamkei aller Anwesenden, die sich sofort dafür entschuldigten, wنhrend die Jungs schon lنngst die Flucht ergriffen hatten.

Einer reichte mir mir soft ein Taschentuch und entschuldigte sich nochmals herzlich. Als ich aufbrach und bezahlen wollte, bestand er sogar darauf, meine Pfeife und meinen Tee mit zu zahlen. Das lieك die Enttنuschung schnell verfliegen und mich mit einem guten Gefühl zu Bett gehen.

permalink written by  derAaron on April 25, 2009 from Cairo, Egypt
from the travel blog: Oasentour Western Egypt
tagged Desert, Cairo and Bike

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