Monday, October 18, 2004

Day 3: October 10th David and I investigate the Egyptian Museum and have a Felucca ride on the Nile

Today David and I went to the Egyptian museum. It cost us 20 Egyptian pounds each and unfortunately, we could not bring our camera into the museum. I was very disappointed b/c our guide books told us that we would have a 10 Egyptian pound charge for a camera (100 Egyptian pounds for camcorder). They would not let people bring phones into the museum either since I guess they have caught on to cameras on phones. We were allowed to take photos outside of the museum before we checked our camera. Our guide book told us about water lilies in a pool in front of the museum that have psychoactive effects and the ancient Egyptians used to put the peddles of these flowers in tea and smoked it. David took a picture of the pool of flowers.

David and I wondered through half the first floor and half the second floor of the museum before we became over saturated. There is so much to see. Unfortunately only 20% of the exhibits are labeled (in three languages: Arabic, French, and English). There are rooms full of stone statues, sarcophaguses, and mummies. There was a beautiful exhibit of Egyptian jewelry. I really liked the necklaces that had rows of bright colored beads. There was a mirror on exhibit that had a beautiful handle with a face of a woman on it.

The high light of the museum for us was the King Tutankhamun exhibit. They devoted a wing of the museum to the artifacts they found in his tomb. There were golden beds, large cases that looked like they could have been ancient crates that held everything in the tomb. Finally they had a room that held his golden mask and two of the three sarcophaguses. The third was a wooden box that was not on display. The two that were on display were made of solid gold. His face mask was put on the face of the mummy. It was in a glass case where you could see the underside of the mask. They also had golden finger and toe caps (?) that were found on his body and silver and gold nails that were used to close the coffin. Apparently, his body is still in the tomb in Luxor. David commented that they must have destroyed the tomb to get the amount of artifact and they size of artifacts out of the tomb. I hope we will get to see his tomb when we are in Luxor.

After about 2 hours David and I were ready for lunch. We found a small restaurant and we had some chicken on a bun. We asked for Turkish coffee and the manager of the store said to us “Please wait 5 minutes”. We figured that he went around the corner to get it for us.

After lunch we walked along the Nile and found someone to give us a Felucca ride on the Nile. Our guide book told us that most people take a Felucca ride at sunset. When we were walking along the Nile we noticed that there were no sail boats on the Nile at all., and we started to thing this was a bad idea. We negotiated an hour ride for 50 Egyptian pounds. It was so relaxing and the best part was that David and I were the only ones on the Felucca. We will have another opportunity to do this on our tour when we are in Aswan. If we decide to come back to Cairo with our tour group, we will definitely do this again before leaving Cairo. We took lots of photos of the Nile from the Felucca which David will post with this blog.

After our Felucca ride we made our way back to the hotel by taxi to meet our Australian friends for dinner. We found another restaurant along Nile Street that was not nearly as good as the one we found the night before. Then we found an internet café where we could catch up on our email and bloging in a 4 story computer mall. There were countless number of little stores selling all sorts of computer stuff. We ended our day by having a Stella (beer) on the roof top bar and enjoying the sweets we picked up on our walk home.

David: WOW – a 4 story computer mall – wow – they had a laptop that looked like it weighed only 2 lbs – 1 / 2 of mine. Life is good eh???

Tomorrow is David and my free day before the tour begins on Tuesday. We meet our tour guide Sandra tomorrow evening at 7pm. Tuesday will be a VERY full day. We see the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel, and the Bazaar all in one day. Wed. we go back to Giza in the morning and have a free afternoon before boarding our train to Aswan (13 hour train ride).

After three days on wondering the streets of Cairo we actually know our way around – and where we are on the map. This is much more than we can say for the local taxis. They really don’t seem to know the city too well.

Cheers,
Veronica and David

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