The Pyramids & The Egyptian Museum

Wednesday, Feb. 24 Reported by Sharon Franklin
Oh, what a beautiful morning! The sun is up. I open the curtains and the patio door and hear the Moslem call to prayer. It would be good if our nation would stop five times a day to pray to God. As we go to breakfast the birds are singing. It sure is different than the weather we left at home! What a variety of food to choose from I especially liked the fruits and rolls. Oops, I spilt tea on myself. Now I have to go back and change. What a mess!

Amir Samy introduces us to Michael Ishaac who will be our guide in Cairo. "Yelabino" That's Arabic for "let's go."

Our first stop is the great pyramids. I expected them to be out in the desert away from the city. The city has spread out to meet them. As the bus pulls to a stop for our first pictures of the pyramids, we see the camels and a view of the smog that hangs over the city every morning. The native venders arrive like bees to honey.

Michael explains to us how perfectly the pyramids were built to preserve the contents, reflect the suns rays, and the reason for the location of entrance toward the north star.

We all decided that we would like the experience of walking inside one of the pyramids. It was necessary to bend over at the waist to navigate the tunnel. Ben, being the tallest had quite a time. He requested, "No pictures while going up." We entered a large empty room except for a crypt that Gordon got into for pictures.

Later we all posed for a group picture beyond the pyramids. We positioned our hands so it would look like we were holding up the pyramids. I don't think we will convince anyone.

Then on to the Sphinx. The statue depicts the head, "wisdom of man" and the body, "the power of a lion," It was carved from one block of stone. The nose was destroyed by Napoleon Bonaparte's soldiers.

Yes, I would like a camel ride, only $5.00! Quite an experience. I took lots of pictures of the local shops and surrounding area. The children were so happy and called hello to us over and over again. Moses, Arab and Mickey Mouse were the camels names. Getting the camel to kneel down so I could get off was the real task. That and convincing the guide that the tip had been paid! Gary got the full treatment with native robe and head dress.

Next we had a party at the perfume factory. We were treated to hibiscus juice and samples of various fragrances. A local glass blower created a perfume bottle. Some made purchases while vendors outside pressured us with their wares.

On to the Egyptian museum. We need to find a W C, but with the quantity of people attending the museum today it is best to see what we can and stop at the W C when we come to it. Again it is necessary to pay a price if you need to enter.

The treasures of King Tutankhamun are exquisite. Oh,the gold and jewels .We could have spent a lot more time here. We did find the Merneptah stele and the inscription of the name of Israel.

Everyone is hot, thirsty and hungry. Michael treats us at an outdoor restaurant back across the river. The native girls are dancing as older women are baking the flatbread. Laura joins the girls as we clap to the rhythm. We have a choice of kabab or chicken. All sorts of salads are brought to our table with pita bread and a fresh tangerine for dessert. What a beautiful day to sit out of doors and enjoy all the lovely flowers and local fare.

Back to town and the Papyrus Institute. First a demonstration on the process of making paper from papyrus stalks without using any glue. Remove the green outer layer used for weaving. Thinly slice the white inner portion and soak in water for seven days. Arrange strips on felt and press for seven days. Voila - indestructable paper used by kings and priests: today by artists. My, what a selection of designs to choose from!

As we travel back to the Pyramid Park Motel we are greeted by the happy faces of children that want us to take their picture. Traffic is a jumble. Terry decides we need to make up a game about driving in Cairo. Peddlers are everywhere. Mothers are walking between the cars, carrying their babies and asking for money to feed them. We have a chance to freshen up a bit before our bus ride back to town for our dinner cruise on the river Nile. I`m not really very hungry after our plentiful meal at 2:00.

More rules for our "Drive through Cairo" game: If you are late, drive in the left lane (oncoming traffic will make room for you). No need to turn on your lights if the overhead street lights are on. Be sure to honk your horn. On our right we see a donkey with such a large load of produce that the owners are behind pushing it up the hill. You have to see it to believe it.

Amir joins us for our river cruise. He has been to a wedding of a friend. Our dinner buffet again offers more then we can comfortably experience. The band plays on, the pretty lady dances with the adventurous and I go up on deck to join some of the others and enjoy the quiet and the lights of the city as we return to port.

What a lovely ending to wonderful day.