Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cairo (email from Amy)

Hello everyone
So, I'm in Egypt, probably one of the most touristy places in the world. When we got off the airplane we wandered about for a bit. Finally we found a bus to take us to central Cairo and were a little shocked when it cost 25p (about 4 US cents) per person to go the almost 12 kilometers. However, we had no clue when we were supposed to get off. Ah, what can you do? I saw the pyramids. What do you say about the pyramids? They're big. And old. Actually everything here is old. We saw some 6500 year old clay pots. If it's only 2000 or 3000 years old it's barely old enough to be important. We saw the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. I have never seen a less effectively organized museum. Near the end we would enter a room and say, "Ah, good. Another case of unlabeled objects." Parts of it just looked like an antiquities warehouse from Indiana Jones or something. They have so many things that they just have them piled about everywhere. I have heard that Egypt is hard for women travelers but I haven't had that many problems. I've been sporadically wearing my headscarf (mostly in Islamic Cairo) and basically keeping my arms covered and head down and letting Pat deal with all of the hassels which has worked pretty well so far (for me), although he did offer to sell me to a tour guide for 4000 camels. There are always the annoying people trying to extort a little baksheesh (something between a bribe and a tip) but probably the most dangerous thing we've faced, at least in Cairo, is the traffic. The guidebook gets it right when it says it's like playing chicken. We also like to compare it to Frogger. We have a pretty good system now, though. It involves using other people and each other as human shields in the hopes that at least if we get hit we won't get hit alone. We've discovered just how helpful it would be to know Arabic. Pat took a few terms in college and can read some of the signs but I'm just limping my way through the numbers (and I still get those confused sometimes.) Right now we're in Aswan, but we're moving up to Luxor today. We have a few days in Luxor then on to Sinai, then back to Cairo. I'll try to keep you all updated. Take care

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