Egypt Trip (part 1)

Our flight to Egypt was scheduled on Monday Morning. This caused me quite a mini-problem since Monday was an official working day that I couldn't take as a leave. I wanted to avoid salary deductions by doing a single clock. So I drove to work at 7 a.m. Clocked in and just went straight to the airport. With a single clock, I can contest the fact that the machine didn't register my clock-out because its faulty and I'll start bitching about stupid technology.

(what the hell did I just say? What if a colleague at work reads this and start blackmailing me….Remove that part idiot)

We arrived at around 11 a.m. the first disappointment hit me when I discovered that my cellphone carrier was not roaming in Egypt. Not a big deal. We bought two temporary prepaid SIM cards to stay in touch.

we stayed in the NOVOTEL hotel . Considering the quality of 4 star hotels, The rooms are below average with bathroom doors that cannot be locked and a non-operational TV. On the other hand, It is near the airport (2 minutes away) which means that it does not have a Nile View. But other than that, the lobby is nice. The morning buffet was good. The hotel won its reputation for two things; the dancing nights organized in the tent and the infamous wedding hall.

I was excited that we still have the day ahead of us and we could do something more exciting. However, I wasted the rest of the day catching up on the lack of sleep that piled up; especially since I didn't sleep the night before.

By the time I woke up, (around 5 p.m), our traveling family friends had just came back from a trip to the pyramids. A trip that I already took twice before; one with my family 10 years ago and one with my University colleagues 5 years ago.

At around evening time, we joined with our hosting family friends and we went for a night out in down town, in Khan El-Khaleeli which I cannot describe it better than wikipedia. A touristic marketplace that's always a pleasure to walk in. I bought all my artifacts from the last trip from this place. I still keep in my book of memories that distant night that's 5 years old where me and my friend escaped the curfew imposed on us by the Head of our department. All he cared about was a respectable position in the regional programming competition in North Africa & Middle East. For us, it was a tourist trip that we wanted to enjoy. On that night, we went to a sliver shop that could carve our names in Hieroglyphic letters on silver pendants. I only enjoyed mine for one day before I got scolded by my muslim friends back at university who bashed me by saying that wearing necklaces is prohibited. I gave mine away to my younger sister but it didn't last more than a year as the silver polish faded away revealing the big scam that it was not pure silver after all.

Khan El-Khaleeli was not different than the last time I encountered. The attitude of the salesmen is still the same. They try to sell you an artifiact for 90 pounds but you end up getting it for 20 pounds. An artifact that they charge 60 pounds could be easily purchased with 15 pounds. I think Khan El-Khaleeli is the best place to start practicing your negotiation skills as much as it's the best place to profit from non-Arab foreigners who rarely negotiate prices.

Cairo in general is still the same. Once you unveil your camera to start taking photos or as early as you start speaking, you would be tracked by a herd of the locales who'd jump at any chance to serve you, give you a cheesy smile or even mutter the cliché "kol sana winta tayeb ya basha" (happy eid). But of course this does not come free of charge. The expected response for that protocol is to go out and give money (or eideyah as they call it) for those sad beggers. And if you don't follow their drift, they'd bluntly spill it out for you with "3ayzeen negeeb la7met il eid" (we want to bring some meat for eid) or "mafeesh 3edeyah ya basha?" (no holiday charity this year..?)

Day 2 was much better. After having breakfast, we decided to spend the rest of the day in Pharonic village. It was much different and better than last time we visited it. They took us back in time and made us live the culture of the Pharoahs, the industries, the agriculture and their lifestyle. I hope that the slideshow below would provide the best virtual tour.

One of the interesting things out there is the stick of Pharoah Tutankhamun. IF you look at the picture, the handle of the stick has statues of slaves. The legend says that he used to hold the walking stick the other way so that it shows the level of his pride and that slaves were always under him and equivalent to his feet level.

Other interesting things were the different museums such as the Alexander Museum, Jamal Abdul Naser & Sadat Museums, the history of pyramids and the mummification process. But the problem is that they know the process but they have not discovered the right volume and quantity of amounts to use. So the idea of being mummified at death is out of the question for me.

We completed our day with an outstanding night in a 2 hour boat trip on the Nile River that was featured by the Belly Dancer and the Tanoora Man show.

I went to sleep that night not knowing that thrilling events hidden for me on the dawn of my 3rd day..the Eid day.


eshda3wa said...

which boat did u take?

theres always something fun to do in egypt if u know where to go

hope u had fun!

KJ said...

Don't worry Hamza I will mummify you LOOOOL

BTW I think I won't go to Egypt because I don't want to be surrounded by a swarm of people begging for money. Everyone complains from this thing even my mom who went there several times.

By the way, about the silver. Silver oxidizes over time and becomes black, so you need to constantly polish it. There are several silver polishing products in any supermaket.

Kinano said...

It doesn't sound like a vacation i would take, but I am glad you had fun :D

Happy EID!

Hamza said...

eshda3wa - there were many boats. I don't remember a particular one but it was on the dock between intercontinental and shepard hotel. It was really nice

KJ - thanks for the sliver tips. Mom has one of those polishing tools and she tried restoring it but it didn't work because as I said, it was not original silver. It was polished with silver

Kinano - thanks. I suggest a 1 week or a 2 week trip where you pass by luxor, cairo, hurgada/ sharm el-sheikh. It is not impossible and it can be easily arranged for.