So with all the turmoil in Egypt lately, I decided to take a quick look at my pictures from Egypt. Two years ago in February 2009, I had the opportunity to visit Egypt for a little over a week to visit some business partners, clients and also to attend the Cairo book fair. I remember arriving and thinking…God, this is such a mad house! The people crossing the streets was like playing a game of frogger with your life. Take a couple steps into the road, hold your breath and hope to God that nobody takes you out! Egypt was one of those places where I have learned a very learned to let go when traveling and to trust people…I know it sounds crazy since we are not supposed to trust anybody…but hey…what the heck being adventurous and exploring is learning about the people and trusting people who say they want to help you are sincere… Let me tell you about it! I got three stories for you!
1. Cairo Museum – I went to visit the Cairo Museum, some old man came up to me and told me he was a professor at a University and that he could guide me around the museum for about $7, I think tour guides go for around $20 if I am not mistaken…in any case I was hesitant…I agreed. He took me through the museum and we made our way through it in good time without wasting too much of the day, we saw all needed to see including some mummy’s, etc. There clearly were no picture spots, however he gave the guards candy and they told me I could take pictures…lol quite funny! – Anyways, it was a great experience at the museum for what it was… *Note: If you do visit the Cairo Museum, do not expect too much – for being a world known museum, I thought for the most part the layout, signage, etc. was pretty lousy – I heard they were re-making the museum, I hope it will be as amazing as the artifacts.
2. Walking around – I was walking around and hoping to find a taxi for a tour of the city – Some guy came up to me and told me he would give me a full city tour for about $15. – We hopped in his unmarked car and he took me all around town, near the pyramids, to the city of the dead, and to a bunch of other places which I can not recall the names but have pictures! I distinctly remember thinking to myself what the heck am I doing, getting into a strangers vehicle in Egypt and letting him tour me around town…who knows he could have taken me around the corner and robbed me, let alone kill me! Clearly that did not happen, so I was blessed to have a positive experience and see some of the local sights!
3. Making friends at the Pyramid – This was a strange experience, non-the less it was one and remains as one of my best travel experiences ever! I am walking around the pyramids and some guy comes to me and says come see my cousins bazaar…I was very hesitant and was like no no no, its my last day and I am leaving home tonight. So really I have no time, I cracked and went…in any case there was nothing that I liked, however while I was there they invited me for some tea and we sat and visited for about 15 minutes or so, I then asked them a very random question about Camel – do you guys eat camel? They told me they did…next thing I know Ebrahim was on the phone with his mom and invited me to his house for Camel Stew! Seriously!!! Ok, so I told him I could not go, I am short on time and really got to be heading, again I cracked. He told me he lived extremely close to where we were and that I would have enough time. So I went with the guy and we walked for about five minutes into really slummy dodgy area…we then got into this minivan sort of thing that had about 8-10 arab ladies in it and took off down the street for about five minutes. We stopped and got out and then walked down this covered alley and into the door – sure enough, Momma I’m home, this is my new friend from Canada! – He then continued to introduce me to his family (Mom, Dad, Sister, Auntie, Niece and Brother. They were all so kind and giving…so giving that they told me I could marry their Daughter (Aya), I thought that was funny because my girlfriend/fiance’s name is Aya.
The food we were served was delicious! it was a Camel Stew with tomatoes and served with Rice on the side. We sat on the floor and they served it to us on a huge silver platter. I know they probably do not have much, but they gave me what they could and made me feel welcome.
To me experiences like the ones I have had are what make life special and amazing! I will always have very fond memories of Egypt and hope one day I will be able to go back and experience the culture and enjoy the wonderful people who make up the country.