Cairo: PART 1

May 13, 2008

Egyptian Museum

I tend to have a limited attention span when it comes to museums. Luckily, it was air conditioned in the Egyptian Museum. There was SO MUCH to see here, and due to time, we skipped a lot but there were a couple of really cool things we did see. First, we saw, a lot of strange artifacts having to do with King Tut — like his socks. His socks! Who keeps that? The royal jewlery was beautiful… and we also learned about dwarfs that roamed the palaces. Apparently, the ancient egyptians were a kinky bunch because Mohammed told us the dwarfs (little people?) would roam the palaces naked and their main purpose was for entertainment. Furthermore, they were the only ones allowed to enter the Pharoah’s room unannounced at all hours of the day or night. (What?) I really wanted to ask Mohammed more about the little people of those times, but if there was a sexual reference I really didn’t want to encourage him. In between tour explanations, Mohammed kept looking at me dreamily like a teenager, asking me about boyfriends and telling me he really liked me. It was wierd, to the point that on the second day in Cairo, Grace and I made up an engangement story so that he’d cool it a bit. But I digress… the absolute highlight of the museum was the mummy room. Each mummy laid in its own temperature-controlled glass case. These are 3,500 year old mummies and they still had their hair, teeth, fingernails and lips in tact! Ohhh, it was so gross and so fascinating to see them! On this trip I learned a lot about mummification. The ancient Egyptians used to remove the brain and other organs inside the body — except for the heart — and put them in “coptic jars.” I guess that’s how the bodies managed to stay so well preserved since there was nothing inside to rot. Yeah, eeeewwww…. but I couldn’t manage to look away.

Cairo Neighborhood

This is where Mohammed stopped to get us some water.

 

Cairo Synagogue

Apparently, there are not a lot of Jews in Egypt. Only a small community in Cairo and the rest in Alexandria. This synagogue was small, but intricate inside. Mohammed says it’s close to the spot where Miriam sent Moses down the river to the Pharoah’s palace.
 

Old Cairo Street

This street reminds me of the Old City in Jerusalem. They were probably built around the same time.

Hanging Church

Much bigger than the synagogue, and more detailed.

Mohammed

A conversation about peace and conflict with our tour guide. What amazed me, is that Mohammed, who used to have a negative view of Israel before the Egypt-Israel peace agreement, would rather visit Israel than the United States. He told me that he used to really want to travel to America until the terror attack of 9/11/01 when he got word of how foreigners were treated in America. He says if he’s going to visit a country, he’d like to be respected there. I guess America has a pretty bad reputation as far as how Americans treat/view foreign visitors.

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