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Traveling Around: Cairo, Egypt
Can you relate?
• Getting off the plane and seeing the armed security forces casually strolling around the airport with machine guns hanging off their arms.
• Going to the Egyptian Museum and walking past tanks and armored vehicles ready to deal with any major problems. There is heightened security leading up to the elections but the armed forces are subtle and seeing them is reassuring. Very strange though seeing military checkpoints with umbrellas protecting the soldiers from the sun.
• Finally seeing Tutankhamen’s treasures including his Death Mask after 39 years of wanting to go and see it, including canceling a previous planned trip as it coincided with the weekend the last revolution occurred.
• Then, walking in his tomb and seeing his mummified corpse (and ‘negotiating’ with the guard to take photographs, even though cameras and pictures not allowed).
• No queues, no waiting anywhere. Before the revolution it would have taken 30 minutes at each of the four tombs in Valley of the Kings before you could even enter and then it would be full of people. I was in Tutankhamen’s tomb with just my mini tour group (total of three) we had the place to ourselves…
• The Pyramids and the Sphinx!!!
• Bargaining with the vendors whilst the Nile River Cruise ship goes through the lock (they throw their product onto the deck and if you want it you throw your money down to them) – best fun ever!!
• Finding out that snacks are really cheap at roadside stalls
• Encountering insane Cairo traffic – lanes are just a suggestion and horns are to tell a story – one hour just to drive around the roundabout at Tahir Square – cars were doing u-turns in the middle of the traffic – against the flow – just to escape…
• Shopping!!! Dealing with the vendors can be so much fun if you smile at them and have a laugh…
• Walking around the corner and seeing the immense statues of Rameses II at Abu Simbel (after a 3am start and a 3 and a half hour road convoy)
• Watching an artisan make papyrus and then seeing another use hieroglyphics to personalise it for you
• Seeing an Egyptian Muslim man propose to his girlfriend on the Nile Dinner Cruise – so beautiful
• Seeing an Egyptian wedding (different couple obviously :)) get married by the pool at the hotel you are staying and then watching the fireworks when they leave the party
• Experiencing all the different temples at different times of the day so the light reflects differently
• Mummified crocodiles!
• Meeting two amazing boys from Barbados to travel around Upper Egypt with (we became known as Two Cokes and a Sprite as that reflected the drinks we always ordered for dinner but it was also a cute description of the three of us)
• Being taken out to dinner by your guide (not included in the tour package) as an extra so you can taste ‘real’ Egyptian food at a restaurant that happened to be across the road from the Sphinx so we were entertained by the Light show as well…
• Experiencing the incredible hospitality of the local people (my tour guide and tour company owner really made sure that I was having the tour of my dreams).
• Realising that Egypt is currently a safe place to visit regardless what the media says – it is cheap to visit now (weather is best Jan – April) and the people appreciate you visiting as they are doing it tough since the revolutions…
• Independently kickstarting the Egyptian economy with all the shopping I did (seriously heavy bags (plural) on the way home!)
• New friends in Egypt and because of Egypt!
Currently we have 23 international schools listed in Cairo, Egypt on International School Community. Here are a few of the them that have had comments submitted on them:
Cairo American College (27 Comments)
• Cairo British School (30 Comments)
• Cairo English School (17 Comments)
• Ecole Oasis Internationale (17 Comments)
• El Alsson British and American International School (20 Comments)
• Hayah International Academy (19 Comments)
• Misr American College (37 Comments)
• The International Schools of Choueifat in Egypt (22 Comments)
This Can you Relate article was submitted by an International School Community member who is Australian and currently works in the UAE.
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