Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trip Photos

Trip photos have been uploaded to Kodak Gallery for your browsing pleasure. This post's title is the link.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Egypt:The Blog -- Day Sixteen

Cairo is a difficult city in many ways and has definitely worn us out. But that's not to say that we've given up. Today, our final day, we toured Islamic Cairo - the Citadel, a few mosques, and the bazaar. Frankly, all were pretty unimpressive but Ellery did some good bargaining for tchotchkies.

It's been a really great trip but its definitely time to come home.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Egypt:The Blog -- Day Fifteen

Well, vacation is almost over and I think Ellery is ready to be home. Me too, just a bit. There's only so much new information and experiences that the mind can take in at one time.

This morning started with an early drive through the countryside surrounding Cairo to Saqqara, home of the oldest pyramids, including the Step Pyramid of Zoser. Unlike the Pyramids at Giza, the Step Pyramid is surrounded by the remains of an ancient temple complex where you can really get a feeling for the power that these early Kings had. The area isn't excavated well, but the entrance, a long corridor of columns between which there were once statues, gives one a sense of what must have been here. And in the distance, you can see even more pyramids (which I presume are in Dahshur).

More inspiring, however, is the nearby tomb of Titi. Inside, the hieroglyphics remain relatively intact, and are carved on every wall and ceiling. The detail is truly amazing, how the fine lines and exquisite drawings and even many of the colors and tints remain. No pictures are permitted inside but even if they were, I doubt it would convey what it is like to be surrounded by the life story of one king etched on walls 5,000 years old.

We returned to Cairo through the same lush, palm-filled, farmland, past water buffalo, donkey carts, and herds of sheep and goat, and made our way to Coptic Cairo, one of the oldest parts of the city where the narrow streets lead to Greek Orthodox churches and even one Synagogue.

Then it was lunch at an incredibly tacky buffet restaurant on the Nile (note to self: don't ask a tour company to include meals) before returning to the hotel for an afternoon swim.

Although we have tried several times throughout this trip to visit a hammam, we have been spectacularly unsuccessful. The one we went to in Aqaba didn't have women's hours on the day we went, and it seems that all the "good" ones in Cairo are either closed or booked full due to Ramadan. So tonight I suspect we'll head to the main part of downtown Cairo for an easy dinner and a visitor's eye view of what happens during Ramadan when the sun goes down.