Wizards, womanisers and weird ass mannequins
Trip Start Aug 14, 2010
31Trip End Jan 20, 2011
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We have a little misunderstanding regarding drugs to clear up with Mark (cheers Kyle!) but once that’s sorted we are off to explore Cairo. Or more accurately for us and Ish, it’s time to find a KFC and a cinema to watch the new Harry Potter movie. We have been on the road long enough to allow us these privileges!! Yes it may be our first day in Cairo but we’re getting a bit over the rude, pushy Egyptians and are in need of some relaxation and home comforts. The cinema is pretty small and we’re surprised at the number of people who just talk on their mobiles during the film (even the attendant takes two calls without leaving the screen!) and more so, we’re surprised at the intermission half way through - intermission at a cinema?! Old skool!
That night it’s a bit of a send off for the Saffa brothers who are leaving the trip in a couple of days to head back to Jo’burg. So Jules heads off in search of some booze for the occasion. As it’s been five weeks since I last had a drop due to the Malaria, and because Sonya and Kyle (fellow malaria suffers) ensure me it will be fine (‘I drank two weeks after mine!’ etc) I decide to have a beer.
We end up having quite a late one with Kerry and Ish in our room - the rest of the group were getting annoying we choose just to chill out with the folk we like! I do well sticking to two beers to test out how it goes - it takes about 2 hours after lights out for me to know it wasn’t a good idea. So for the remainder of the night and the full day after I spend my time running between the room and the toilet and alternating between vomiting and the runs! Yay for me! I’m seriously going to be in trouble with my sister at this point as I already lost around 6kgs from the malaria so who knows what size I’ll be for the bridesmaids dress if this keeps up any longer…
So whilst I recover in bed watching episodes of 30 Rock on the laptop (thanks Ish & Pat) Jules heads out with Ish to explore the city a bit more, over to her….
Right, we finally get our acts together and head to Cairo Museum. After much contemplation, haggling, bargaining etc. etc. we get a guide for an hour as the place is so bloody huge. It is a lot to cram in to an hour but the guide is worth it - even if a bit weird! He rushes passed some things which seem to be quite significant but then takes his sweet time to stop at a painting and explain it’s meaning to us - which I will summarise as best I can!! It was basically a painting showing little hieroglyphic male and female Egyptians with a few having a big, black, erect ‘thing’ coming out from their body! The meaning was as we thought but the way he put it was hilarious……this is showing a woman wearing a perfume which makes men hard like an Egyptian donkey and ladies hot and horny! He then continued to say it was still used today but that he didn’t need it! From that point on there was far too much emphasis on sex, horniness, how good he was etc. which wasn’t quite the cultural experience Ish and I were looking for - funny though. So we ditch him and head in to the jewellery rooms to see the infamous mask of King Tutankhamen - it is even more stunning in real life, absolutely exquisite! On quite a different note, they mummies are pretty amazing too. The mummy room is definitely worth the extra bucks it costs for the ticket to get in there.
No cameras allowed in the museum so instead here's some other pics of Cairo...
So with the museum done and dusted we head back to check on the patient before our next adventure. I get a shawarma for lunch while Ish heads off to McDees - naughty, naughty Ish!! I check on Jen who says she’s gonna try eating so I head back downstairs to get her some mashed potato - I know this seems boring and irrelevant but it’s what happens next that I’m really writing about. On my way down the stairs (the hotel is on the 8th floor with lower floors being offices) I bump into a nicely dressed man in a suit who introduces himself, makes small talk and offers his hand for me to shake. Which I do as I am not a rude, arrogant traveller and do actually think the best of people until they show me otherwise - which he does! We shake hands, he then pulls me in for the two kisses on the cheeks thing (which I find a bit weird but think, OK lets just get this over with!) and then goes in for the big kiss on the lips! I push him away and with a disgusted shake of the head carry on my way. It is just so unbelievable that these guys think they have the right, have the balls and the audacity to treat women like that! Does he really think its acceptable to land a big sloppy one on an absolute stranger?? As I’m writing this I realise how silly it sounds because of course they do! Egyptian men are an absolute law unto themselves and their behaviour surprises in the worst possible manner time and time again. Rude, arrogant, chauvinistic and aggressive pretty much sums the majority of them up. Obviously a generalisation, there were a handful that were really lovely but on the whole, I would say it’s a pretty accurate description.
So after that little violation Ish and I head out again, jumping on the metro to Ataba to get to the big market. Bless, while we were waiting for the metro we got moved along from where we were because it was the ’Ladies Only’ carriage and Ish wasn’t allowed in it! A fantastic idea which Jen and I took advantage of on our later adventures in Cairo. Got a little lost in the mayhem, the traffic was crazy - which resulted in Ish and I nearly getting hit by a bus but all good, that’s what adventures are about! We got a little bit lost, as you do in Cairo but ended up getting walked in the right direction by a somewhat crazy man. He was all there, actually looked like a businessman but his manner was hilarious. We realised after this interaction that yelling aggressively is just how they communicate in Egypt! He stormed us through the winding streets - questioning why Ish had such a weird name and where is parents were actually from for him to be that colour etc. He then randomly gave us his mobile number and told us to contact him if we needed anything - sweet but very, very weird dude! We went to check out the Al-Azhar mosque but it is closed to tourists after 5pm. A ‘teacher’ who saw us hovering around the entrance took it upon himself to become our tour guide and when I was sceptical and told him we were fine by ourselves he proceeded to tell me I needed to ‘clean my heart’! I found his bottle/front quite amusing so decided to give him a chance. He did actually take us through this great little local market but the end goal of his was soon realised when he took us to a papyrus shop. They weren’t pushy or anything though (which was a nice change!) so it was all good.
We then took a walk through the famous Khan el-Khalili market which was an experience,
Actually getting out of the tourist part and into the more local part was much cooler. As you walk thorough they all try to get you into their shop with different lines - hello my friend, can you tell me what this spice is, can you tell me what colours you mix to get this etc. but my favourite of the night was actually a very honest “Hello, how can I take your money from you tonight?” - love the honesty there!
Didn’t do any shopping but Ish got himself a LOVELY ladies (sorry Ish, I just couldn’t keep that one to myself!) jacket. Nicely modelled by the fat salesman and everything, Ish just couldn’t resist.
Another highlight of the evening was spotting the World’s most angriest looking mannequins - see for yourself……….
Got back at about 9pm, bit later then expected and poor Jen (who may or may not have been waiting for some dinner - sorry babe!) was already tucked up in bed asleep. Ish met up with his friend Jenna, I had a few drinks with the guys then called it a night.
The next day I’m (JH) feeling a bit better so after chilling in the room in the morning the two of us head off to a big mall that some of the others tried out the day before. The mall is HUGE! A complete labyrinth of shops and restaurants that we get lost in a number of times. Again we are glad to see yet another amazing set of mannequins - this time not angry but a bit raunchy!! Feast your eyes lads………….
So with me still being ill the following day I remain in bed for most of it as Jules heads out again with Ish - who has returned from a day and night out at Alexandria. It’s just a few errands (changing travellers cheques etc.) then Ish heads off to the mall and Jules does our re-packing, sorting out of clothes etc - always a fun job!
The next day we’re leaving Cairo, unfortunately for Jen she didn’t get to see much of it but it’s not like it’s a million miles away from England so no doubt we’ll make our way back at some point if at least for a day on the way to the beach which is where we are currently heading….