A long weekend of sightseeing!

Trip Start Aug 20, 2005
1
5
15
Trip End Jun 2006


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Sunday, September 11, 2005

Well after a long weekend -- Friday and Saturday, that is, because in the Middle East the weekend falls on Friday and Saturday (and this goes against a culturally-developed instict and will take getting used to... Thursday is the new Friday, for real now), I shall update with pictures of what I did this weekend!

On Friday, I stayed in for much of the day and then went w/ Irene, a Norwegian who's studying abroad here too, to Coptic Cairo, an area of the city that was built very, very long ago (I think in the 3rd century, AD, but I'm not positive) by the Coptic Christians, members of a very early branch of Christianity that actually preceded Islam in Cairo. We didn't actually get to see much of Coptic Cairo, since by the time we got there (around 4pm) most of the churches had already closed, but we walked around the area for a bit. The neighborhood around Coptic Cairo was a lot quieter than most of Cairo, and full of very old, sandy-colored buildings and little kids running around and playing in the streets; it was actually really peaceful and picturesque in some ways, although I didn't want to seem like a gawking foreigner, so I didn't take any pictures of the ppl's houses, only the Coptic churches. And we rode there on the Metro (subway), also a first for me. The Metro in Cairo is surprisingly clean and well-maintained, even compared to the rest of the city, which can be dingy. There are also 2 all-women's cars in the front of the train that are a lot safer and less sketchy than the rest of the cars,although Irene and I appeared to be the only non- Middle Eastern women on them.

Anyway, on Saturday (yesterday) I went to the pyramids at Giza! That was amazing! The pyramids are HUGE up close, and I still can't get over how the ancient Egyptians managed to build such massive structures... WOW.
We rode camels and horses through the desert on our way there... That was tiring and really hot, but also amazing. Riding a camel really jars one's back, I discovered. It was also weird because, on our way to the pyramids, we saw various other ppl riding horses and camels in the area, including some little kids (like 8 yr olds) riding camels really, really fast! The whole camel riding thing would have been an insurance/laibility/disclaimer form nightmare in the US, but in Egypt, we just paid our money and got on the animals(me and the 3 other girls I was with switched off between riding horses and camels). I'm not sure which way I prefer (super safe and bureaucratic, like in the US, or carefree but questionable at times, like in Egypt); all I can say is that this is how things are here.
After the pyramids, we went to an even older step pyramid at Sukkara, and then to Memphis, a town about 3km down the road from Sukkara that had an ancient statue of King Ramses II, an alabastor sphinx (I also saw the big Sphinx at the Giza pyramids -- that was great as well!) statue, and some other statue remnants and old tomb casings w/ heirogliphics on them, all of which were really well-kept considering their age (SO old) and really pretty. By the end of the day, Alice, Aliza, Stine, and I were EXHAUSTED from the heat and the activity and the breathtaking sights, but it was an amazing day overall.
I would definitely recommend that anyone see the pyramids if/when they get a chance. The sight is really stunning.

Anyway, my computer battery is dying, which means I won't have a chance to upload any pictures now, but I will later once I go bk to my room (I'm in the dining room/cafeteria now) and plug my computer in. And I got some great pictures, so look for the photo album soon!
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Comments

stacygraff
stacygraff on

Pyramids
Just had to comment when I noticed you were at the Pyramids the same day as me :) Anyways, they were amazing and the camel ride was painful! I felt like I had exercised for hours after that ride, but it sure was quite an experience :)

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