Cairo Day 2

The heat in Egypt is a more pleasant dry heat.  I went for an early morning run and the temperature wasn’t bad at all.  However it was Eid so I had to go around all the crowds at 6am, and every Egyptian ‘man’ thinks he can say whatever he likes to a woman, and the children think it is ok to throw rocks at people exercising.  I can run faster than children.

Owing to some unforeseen circumstances I had to leave my homestay.  She sent me to Dina’s hostel in downtown Cairo.  I took the Metro, which was only LE2, and had a woman only carriage.  However some of the man pre-pubescent boys thought it was fun to ride in the women’s carriage.  When one woman told them to get off they replied something and just laughed at her.

The streets were filled with these packs of boys.  Where are their parents?

Delegating the responsibility to the police? This is Tahrir Square, which is actually a circle.

I found my hostel with the non-help of some man who spent the whole time trying to convince me he was trustworthy.  He also asked for directions, and again people sent us the wrong way.  I actually knew where I was going the whole time.

Dina’s Hostel is up 5 flights of stairs and charges LE 45/night for a dorm, with breakfast.  I waited long enough to make sure the man had gone away, then went to the museum.  Entry is LE50 and you have to go through security twice.  On the 2nd go they check your handbag for a camera, and only at this point tell you to go out again, put it in a deposit box, and go through security again.  I was more angry at the faff than the camera thing, went out, put my camera in my pocket, and came back in.  It worked!

Stele from the Old Kingdom

The museum hasn’t been updated in 40 years.  Some of the panels are typewritten (by a typewriter) on A4, pinned to the wall.  You can hire guides or audio guides but I relied on my semester of Egyptology in Stage 1 Ancient History.  I was disappointed not to see a single piece of pre-dynastic black-topped redware.

A statue in the typical pose


Flabby depiction in the late Old Kingdom


This style was used to provide greater space for writing



Greek stelae


Mummified sacred rams


Solar boats to carry the deceased to the gates of eternity


Canopic jars

At this point a plainclothed security man saw me taking photos but by heading in the direction of the New Kingdom I was able to throw him off.

The best part is the treasures from Tutankamun’s tomb – gold, jewels, the sarcophaga – it almost looked like junk piled up in a rich person’s garage the way it was all piled up in the tomb.  The gold death mask is as spectacular as you’d expect.

Outside are lots of statues that aren’t good enough to warrant being put inside.

Outside the only people not making immature comments were these:

Some measure of professionalism

All the tour operators were shut due to Eid.  I walked out to the Islamic District.  It was all shut too.  I continued to the Citadel.

Rare angle as I had walked out to it.

When I arrived it was shut.  At 3pm?!  I headed back in a taxi.  He tried to tell me the market was shut.

The NOT shut market

The eastern end of Khan El Khallili is for tourists and was all go.

Al Azhar mosque

I walked back to my hostel.

Spotted on the way: Camp Abbassia! Aka Camp Simnel Cake.

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