Amy's Amazing Adventures

Egypt!

go here by on Feb.08, 2009, under Uncategorized

enter site So, our flight from Japan to Singapore was nice and short. Only 6 hours. But because we got up so early that morning, by the time we got to Singapore, we were both so tired! Apparently, when I get that tired, I have very little patience and when Steve gets tired, he gets very grumpy. Not a good combination. We pretty much hated each other for 8 hours. ha ha (our lay over in Singapore was 8 hours long!) We found a place to eat, got some free foot and leg massages, then found a little corner by our gate that seemed to be pretty deserted and slept on the floor for about 3 hours. That seemed to help. I’ll write about the awesome-ness that is the Singapore airport when we stay in Singapore next week.

source site Our flight to Cairo from Singapore left at 2am. It was an 11 hour flight, so by the time we got to our hotel in Cairo, we had been traveling for about 25 hours straight!

We were met at the Cairo airport by an English speaking driver. He helped us get through customs and then introduced us to George; the one who will be taking us on a tour of Fayoum in a couple of days, and also taking us back to the airport on Saturday (i think)

follow link The Cairo airport was very intimidating. As is Cairo itself. There are guards and police everywhere. There are 3 kinds of police. the regular Police, Tourist Police, and Traffic Police. There are guards outside at the corners of our hotel with large guns. The traffic is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There seem to be millions of cars following only one rule: “try not to hit anything”! You can see in the next picture how the cars just drive where they can find room. The horns are used constanly, but not in the “hey what do you think you’re doing” kind of way. It’s more like “in case you don’t see me, my rearview mirror is scraping along the side of your car”

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This next picture shows one of the Tourist Police at the Pyramids. Their job is to make sure the Tourists are ok.

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When we got to the hotel, we found out that our week long reservation had been canceled two days earlier! So, we booked a room for just one night, and had to contact the travel agency who had to contact their supplier, etc. Thankfully, it was resolved the next day. Just another adventure to write about :)

The view from the balcony is really amazing. We can see the Nile AND the pyramids! The Nile is directly below us, but it has to be a clear day in order to see the pyramids. There aren’t many clear days here. It is very hazy almost all the time. The Nile is very pretty. I got a few night time and sunrise shots.

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The buildings are quite extreme. They’re either particularly ornate, or damaged and decaying with not many buildings in between.

At first, I didn’t like how dirty the city seemed, but as we’ve been out touring the city, I’ve changed my mind. I love it here! It’s so interesting to see how people live in different parts of the world.

Our first tour was to the Pyramids. Our tour guide, Reham, was amazing! I think she knows everything there is to know about Egypt :)

It is amazing to see in person, something you’ve only seen pictures of your whole life. The pyramids are bigger than I thought they would be. ¬†I have to say though, i am disappointed in the other tourists. There was ¬†garbage all around the pyramids and when we visited some ancient churches today, there was writing on the walls that said things like “mike was here 1999″. I can’t imagine why they would think that was a good idea! So, to anyone who goes to visit interesting places, please don’t litter or write on things! It’s stupid, disrespectful, and very annoying.

Another unpleasent, and slightly difficult part of visiting the pyramids are the vendors. They walk around the pyramids through the tourists and almost force you to buy things. It sounds weird to say that you’re almost ‘forced’ to buy something, but it’s true. You have to very quickly develop the ability to either ignore or firmly say no, or both! There are some people who are fun to talk to. The ones who aren’t pushing their wares into your hands claiming they’re free and then demanding money.

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Everyone would ask us “where are you from?” and when we said “Canada”, they would say “ah! Canada Dry!” Apparently, they really like the gingerale, although, we have yet to see any here. Another thing everyone commented on was Steve’s beard. They’d point to their chins and say “very Egyptian!” I have been “proposed to” about 20 times in the last two days. People were offering Steve their camels and their wives in exchange for me. It’s quite odd.

There are actually 6 pyramids in this location. (from left to right in the picture of the 3 pyramids below) The Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and then three smaller pyramids for the wives/mother of Menkaure. The second pyramid looks bigger than the Great Pyramid, but it’s actually an optical illusion. It is built on higher ground and is closer to the camera. Steve and I were able to climb down into one of the smaller pyramids! It was actually a lot of work. It was a pretty vertical climb on a wooden ladder, in the dark, backwards! It was definitely worth it though!

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Steve and I got to ride a camel! It was fun, but it was a little bit scary. The camel gets down onto it’s knees to let you on, then it quickly pushes it’s back legs up first, so you’re thrown forward and almost off. You have to hold on really tight. Then, when it’s letting you off, it kneels down on it’s front legs first, so you’re thrown forward again. I’m surprised we didn’t see people falling off!

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We then went to the Solar Boat Museum. The Solar Boat was found in a pit next to the pyramids. The significance of the boat is still debated. The ancient Egyptians believed that at the end of the Pharaoh’s life on Earth, his soul ascends to the heavens to join his father Re . The arguments are about whether this boat was purely symbolic – part of the burial goods – or whether it was actually used in the funeral procession to transport the body of the king by river to his pyramid.

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No nails were used in the construction and the boat was assembled through an ingenious system of stitching ropes made of vegetable fibres through holes. When the wood was swollen by water the ropes would tighten and make the boat watertight. The ropes in the next picture are more than 4000 years old!

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Next was the Sphinx. Generally, the role of the Sphinx was as a guardian to different structures like temples and royal tombs. It’s was carved out of one piece of stone in the quarry where they got the stones to build the pyramids.

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We left the pyramids to have lunch. We went to a little place that sold Kababs and Felafels. You buy them and then eat standing up at counters on the sidewalk. They were really yummy! After lunch, we went to the Egyptian Museum where we were able to see the treasures that were found in King Tut’s tomb! They were amazing! It’s unbelievable that this stuff was able to stay in such good shape for thouands of years.

After the museum, we went to a place where they showed us how to make papyrus. The man teaching us was named Moses. He was very nice and helpful and informative. He is holding a papyrus plant. They would cut a piece of papyrus the same length they wanted the paper to be, then peel it. The peelings they would use for sandles, beds, boats etc. Then they slice the inside into strips. The strips are soaked in water for 2 days. This breaks down the sugars and makes them very flexible.

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When the strips of papyrus have been soaking for 2 days (or 15 days if you want a darker coloured paper), you lay them on a piece of cloth and then put another cloth on top of it, and put it in a press (or under heavy stones) for a few days. The pressure of the stone or press, causes the fibers in the papyrus mesh together which makes the paper very strong! You can even wash the paper, and ring it out, with no damage to it!

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We then went back to the hotel where I had a 5 hour nap! The time zones and date lines have me so confused! If you asked me what time it is, or even what day it is, I won’t be able to tell you.

I am loving Egypt more every day!

4 comments for this entry:
  1. Shari Day

    Wow! What amazing pictures! Steve you look good on a camel. You should get one. I like the way the camel in the close-up smiled for you. You are getting a lot of fantastic city shots. It’s interesting that in Japan you aren’t supposed to eat on the street and in Egypt that is the proper place. You are not the only one having fun. We went to Walmart.

  2. Jen Reid

    Hi Amy… the pictures of the pyramids and the sphinx made me cry:( Like I didn’t think I would get so emotional, but I did. They look even more beautiful thank I imagined…

  3. Ashley

    Hey….we have yet to see photo documentation of any list items being done!
    Those are some cool pictures though.
    Chad wants a picture of a camel spitting on steve. And keep the spit cause Chad wants it! lol
    I want my present!
    Did you go to church?

  4. Shari Day

    Hi do you know that you are only 383 km from Jerusalem? True or False: Jesus visited Egypt. True. His parents took Him there to flee from Herod the psycho king. I Love that picture of Steve with that Egyptian guy. I’d like to paint his portrait. Beautiful features. Gee Amy, twenty proposals. Flattering yet creepy. Maybe you need a burka. Your too pretty. Ugly up a little.

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