Cairo, Egypt – July 4th

Happy Fourth of July from Cairo!!! We started our day today going to the Cairo Museum. Again, Cairo traffic was crazy, so we didn’t get to the museum until about 10:30 am.

The museum was in a huge building filled with sarcophaguses, hieroglyphics, statues, and other Egyptian relics.

Not very many of the pieces were really labeled, but a couple of them had a small English description which was nice. The shear number of artifacts was quite impressive. We saw real mummies and Tutankhamen’s burial tomb.

King Tutankhamen’s Burial tomb

It was interesting to see some of the things I had learned about in elementary school. In school, we had a project where we made a relic from ancient Egypt. I remember my brother (with my dad’s help) made an ankh and flail which I saw with the rest of King Tut’s relics. We couldn’t take pictures of it though. I (again with the help of my dad) made a statue of a cat. Interestingly, there were not too many cat relics in that museum. 

After the museum, we headed out to meet up with the couch surfer who will be hosting us when we get back to Cairo after visiting Luxor. His name is Ahmed. He was hosting two other couch surfers from Morocco, so we met them and Ahmed’s brother. 

We met at the train station because we had an important mission for Ahmed. We are headed to Luxor tomorrow. The train from Cairo to Luxor for tourists costs $80 US dollars, but the local train, which is essentially the same train, costs approximately $7 US dollars. They will not sell tourists tickets for the local train, but tourists can get on the local train as long as they have a ticket. So, we asked Ahmed to buy us tickets on the local train so we could get the cheaper price. It turns out that the reviews Jay had read were right in that you had to buy the tickets at least a week in advance because they were sold out. So we walked clear across the station to buy the tourist tickets. We wanted to make sure the tourist tickets were not sold out before we bought our return tickets. So after getting the tourist tickets, we walked all the way back to the local part of the station so Ahmed could buy us our return tickets. It was quite the ordeal. But, at least we got our return tickets for the cheaper price. 

I had a kind of interesting experience at the train station. A young boy and his mother were looking at me and acted like they wanted to shake my hand. I did and said hello. They spoke in Arabic to Ahmed who told me they wanted to take a picture with me. I guess being a white girl in Egypt made me somewhat of a novelty. A couple other people asked for pictures as well, but Ahmed kindly told them no. I was a little bit of a celebrity. Lol. That was my fifteen minutes of fame here.

After buying the tickets, it was nearly 3 o’clock and everyone was starving for lunch. Ahmed took us to “the most famous restaurant in Egypt.” From downtown, our Uber took about 30 min to get us/find us, but we finally made it. And it was Ahmed’s first Uber ride so that was exciting. We met up with the couch surfers from Morocco and Ahmed’s brother at the restaurant (they had their own car). 

Ahmed ordered food for us consisting of chicken, pigeon, and another meat stick of some sort. We also tried molokheya which is a soup made from broth and a ground up green herb from which the soup gets its name. It tasted good, but had a strange raw egg-like consistency.

Ahmed at lunch

After lunch, our plan was to head back to the hotel and swim with everyone. However, we finished lunch at around 5 o’clock and with Cairo traffic, we didn’t get back to the hotel until 6:20pm. Ahmed and crew didn’t arrive until after 7 o’clock and the pool was closed by this time. So we sat out buy the pool for a couple of hours talking. Ahmed taught us some Arabic curse words and Jay talked with everyone about his engineering work. Both of the couch surfers from Morocco were engineers and Ahmed just graduated with his degree in physics. We finished up the night by the pool and then headed back to the room. 

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