TBT: Cairo, Egypt

18:30 Alyson Tart 1 Comments

For our first trip as a married couple, Paul and I decided to go outside our normal travel box.

No Europe. No English. No problem?

We had a friend from Egypt and had always told him if he went back, we wanted to go. We had dreams of the pyramids, and Arabian nights.  Finally, 6 months after the wedding, the opportunity arose. He was travelling back for a cousins wedding, so we hopped on the opportunity to travel with someone who could guide us around better than we ever could on our own.

Day 1 - we arrive to the airport in Cairo around 2 am, after a nice, long layover in Amsterdam. We get our visas, follow the queue out the exit to find our friend's brother who so kindly met us as such an ungodly hour.

We get in the car and off we go. Less than a minute in, I'm already terrified. What is the driver doing?! It was my first big culture shock of the trip. Forget lanes, forget rules, forget seat belts, forget traffic laws. What's the fastest way from point A to B? Despite the drivers best attempts otherwise, we made it safely to the hotel.  Where we were promptly sent through security. What the? I'm starting to worry about what I've gotten myself into.

????? There are no words

After allowing ourselves to sleep in, we made it out into Cairo. The differences from my home in Texas were everywhere. Besides the crazy driving and honking, you have calls to prayer, where men would stop in the street to pray, covered women walking around with their families and just a general sense of hustle and bustle that comes in a city of 10M people.

And so I took the week to soak it all in. Despite the smog (disgusting), waste problem (trash everywhere), poverty and my lack of ability to speak the language or even try to read it, I loved it.

We strolled around the Khan al Khalili, where you could bargain for hours over something that cost $5.

We visited our first mosques, including one of the largest I've seen yet - Mohammad Ali Mosque - located up on the citadel of the city.

Al Azhar Mosque - my first, but not last time covered
Inside the courtyard of the
Mohammad Ali Mosque

Mohammad Ali Msoque

We wandered the Egyptian National Museum, with artifacts scrammed into every possible space, but very few descriptions, and almost none in English, wishing we had sprung for the private tour guide. Paul caught the eye of some young school girls who followed us around, speaking to him in English and giggling.

No photos inside, but they have some strategically
placed items outside

We stood in awe of the enormous pyramids and sphinx, wondering how they could have gotten there, and how they were still there thousands of years later. We even let ourselves get suckered into a camel photo, then finally a camel ride. It may be touristy, but who can imagine a better backdrop for our first camel ride.

It was all completely foreign, a trip I knew I would never forget. And little did I know that it would prepare for my life in Turkey later on. After our travels to Egypt, the foreign just didn't seem quite so unusual and foreign anymore.

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1 comment:

  1. Egypt is such a beautiful place to spend holidays with your family. I have so many interests to have a trip to Egypt so give me all details. If you really want to take the knowledge about Egypt Culture then have touch on it.