Nov 15, 2005
After my time in Denmark, I return to Egypt and settle into life in Cairo. I'm now living in one of the cheapest countries in the world, and getting paid in euros. It's not a bad deal.
I didn't even consider getting an apartment. Life in the Dahab Hotel is too social and too much fun.
Cairo is a hoppin' city with 20 million plus people. Across the street from the hotel is an alley packed full of people playing backgammon and smoking sheesha's at 3 o'clock in the morning. Next door to the hotel is a liquor store, with drinkable (somewhat) bottles of booze for only $1/bottle. You can get good cheap food delivered 24-hours a day.
On Mohammed's birthday, we have a minor disaster, when we went to buy drinks for the night and found all of the liquor stores closed. The next day, drunk, goofy, and a bit paranoid that there is going to be another holiday with no booze for sale, we decide to stock up on emergency booze supplies. We each throw in just a little bit of cash, rush downstairs to the liquor store, and come back with 10 bottles of Rumo (a brandy like beverage) and 10 liters of coke, all for less than $20.
As I'm living in Cairo, I'm not super-excited to tour it, but eventually I decided that I need to go and see some of the touristy things.
In Denmark, I realized how jaded I had become. Nothing seemed new and different to me anymore. Back in Cairo, it's more of the same. But I spend some time hanging out and sightseeing with a 20 year old. To her, everything is exciting, and new, and just a little bit scary. It reminded me how I used to be - scared and lost on my first day as a backpacker in Madrid so many years ago. Maybe through trying to see the world through younger travelers' eyes, I'll be able to overcome this traveler's malaise.
The Dahab Hotel is just two short blocks away from the Egyptian Museum. In the months that I'd been living in Cairo, I'd walked past the museum countless times, but I'd never gone in. I'd glad that I got around to it. It was pretty damn amazing.
You walk into the main hall and are greeted by the Colossi of King Amaenophis III and Queen Tyi. I feel rather small, as I'm only the size of the King's big toe. That's your first impression of the museum.
The museum is packed full of statues and sarcophagi of not only the royalty, but of anyone even of minor note such as the chief of the royal gold workers, and a scribe at the temple of Karnak.
Despite the amazing collection, the museum is a bit of a disgrace. The lighting is terrible - sometimes there is just natural light through dust-covered windows. In some places, next to an exhibit, there are photos of the piece on exhibit elsewhere in the world. Sadly, in this light, the photos often looked better than the actual pieces.
Upstairs are the treasures of Tutankhamen. King Tut's toms was tiny, but it was crammed full of an incredible amount treasure. Most of what was in the tomb is now here in the Cairo Museum.
In the tomb, a large gold box held Tutankhamen's organs, with four goddesses surrounding the box, guarding over him. That box was contained within another box. From there, there were larger and larger room-sized gold boxes stacked like china dolls with the mummy in the center. It was pretty damn amazing.
There is a traffic jam of tourists to get to Tutankhamen's mask. I only get a few moments of looking at him eye to eye, but the facial features are amazingly lifelike with pierced ears, and incredible eyes. I'm jaded, and I don't impress easily, but wow! Tutankhamen's mask is indeed something that needs to be seen.
Leave a comment! I'm much more inspired to write when I know people are reading.
I'm still reading! Just don't get the time to get on the net as I used to. Keep it up, man.
Erica - Jan 23, 2008
It's nice to know there are still amazing things out there to see even when you think you've seen it all.