We got back from Egypt yesterday, and I decided to post about it on my blog because trying to email this many pictures does weird things...
We flew into Cairo, and of course we went to see the most famous pyramids in Giza. Cairo is a pretty crazy place. It has about 20 million people!! I'm a small town girl, really out of my element among all those city dwellers!
When we are in Egypt we don't drink anything but bottled water - we don't even brush our teeth with tap water, no ice in our drinks, careful of juice that might be diluted. We don't eat anything that hasn't been cooked, or that we haven't peeled ourselves - no fruit or salads. No lettuce or tomato on a hamburger. That is, unless you want to ruin your trip with serious stomach trouble! You really want to spend as little time as possible in their public bathrooms (eeew!).
Life seems a little more dangerous there... If you need a ride somewhere, there are all these vans driving around with the doors open. They have hand gestures that you do on the side of the street to let the drivers know where you want to go. If someone happens to be going that way they will stop and pick you up. Well, stop may be exaggerating, they kind of slow down and you jump in!
The traffic is CRAZY! Imagine if there were no lines on the roads to tell you where the lanes are -- they do have the lines, but everyone ignores them and they just fit as many cars on the road as they can. There are hardly any stop lights or intersections on the main streets. The road is divided in the middle. If you want to go somewhere on the opposite side of the street you have to drive past it until you get to the places made for you to turn around and get on the road going the other direction. Then you go back up the way you just came until you reach your destination. I think it probably really cuts down on accidents, since the stop lights are pretty much ignored anyway. They drive the way you walk through a crowd, if someone wants to drive across they just start nosing their way through until they get to the other side. They drive in such a different way, I'm sure they would have just as much trouble driving in the States as we would have driving there!
You really do see horses, donkeys or camels mixed in with the traffic fairly frequently, and buses and cars honk at them -- I worried that they would spook one of the animals and cause an accident, but the animals just ignore them and plod along!
Some parts of Cairo are not very beautiful. This was a common sight out the window of the bus. The city is so over crowded that some of the living conditions are quite poor. I think they don't have enough places to dispose of things, so trash really piles up in unused areas.
But there are amazing sights too! I can't wrap my brain around how old these things are. They were old when Abraham was here! The old Abraham, father of Isaac, Abraham - that Abraham!
This could have been a better picture if the camera angle had been different and you could see that the great pyramid of Giza is that big thing behind the sphinx. Oh well, maybe next semester...
I know I'm strange, but I really do enjoy shopping at the Khan al Khalili bazaar! It is crazy and busy and crawling with pick pockets and obnoxious shop keepers that want to get as much money out of you as they can. I can't explain why I think it is fun, there are such strange things there... All kinds of junk and a few treasures. Some of the shop keepers are hilarious. I was looking at purses in one shop and Roy decided to take my picture. When the shop keeper realized it, he wanted to pose for a picture and came up and put his arm around me. I looked at Roy and said sarcastically, "Thanks, Honey!". The shop keeper said, 'Hey, that's my name!", he turned to someone walking by and said, "What's my name?" The man looked surprised and said, "Your name is Hanni.". Ha ha!
We were surprised at how many people wanted to get their pictures taken with us. Strange. This family stopped us and asked if they could pose with us. What do they do with pictures of strangers? Put them on a blog like I just did?
We also went to Luxor to visit the Valley of the Kings. I really prefer Luxor to Cairo - it is a much smaller town. This is common as you drive along. We also saw women walking along with huge loads they were balancing on their heads. I really want to to know how they do that, it seems like it would be so great to carry something and have both your hands free!
Most of the men wear gallabias or galabeyas or many other spellings. I can see why this would be so much cooler than wearing pants!
Roy often takes pictures that are truly amazing! Here is a picture of the sunset over the Nile. I often felt like I needed to pinch myself to make sure we were really there.