Friday, August 18, 2017

Our Last Full Day In Cairo.....

A Last look over Hazy Cairo With the Great Pyramids in the background

Today we headed over by ferry to Pharaonic Village. This life-sized museum serves to teach both tourists and locals how ancient Egyptians lived so long ago. The village was the idea of just one man, Dr. Hassan Ragab, who came up with the idea to incorporate the Nile River as a way to demonstrate how life once was.

We boarded a boat filled with about 50 seats that all faced the same direction. Almost like a moving theater we floated down the river and stopped at various stages with real actors portraying life in ancient Egypt. Our English speaking narrator told us what we were looking at along with the history of that era.

After the boat ride we were lead by a local guide through various buildings from ancient Egyptian times. Finally we visited a recreation of the tomb of King Tutankhamun, most of which we had already seen at the Egyptian Museum near our hotel. The actual tomb of King Tut is in Luxor at the Valley of the Kings which we are going to see next week.

Replica of Mask found on King Tut
We saw the original in the Cairo Museum
11 kg of solid gold!

Next our guide took us to see the gates to the Ancient City of Cairo. The city of Cairo was founded in 969 CE and the walls were erected for several reasons. The main reason was for protection and the second was to segregate the classes of the city. At one time Cairo had a double wall around it with more than 25 gates leading inside. What is left is still a ancient, beautiful wall complete with gates and towers that separate the old city from the new.

We ended our day of touring by walking down the cobblestoned streets of Khan el-Khalili Bazaar. This ancient market is the oldest in Cairo and is filled with colorful sights, smells and flavors. We followed our guide past mosques, schools that taught the ancient art of paper making, pottery schools and more. In the midst of the conservative, long Muslim dresses that the women wear are provocative, colorful belly dancing costumes for evening entertainment. A delightful step back in time to embrace the culture of Cairo.

The Gates to the Bazaar

Because we enjoyed and trusted our tour guide named Alfy, we spent three days touring Cairo with him and a driver. Every time the driver entered a site that we were going to explore he and Alfy were questioned by the guards. Yesterday we heard Alfy say the word, "Canadians," in referring to who we were when he was asked. Afterwards, just as I was about to correct his mistake he explained. "I had to tell them you were from Canada because if they knew you were Americans they would have asked more questions." He went on to say that we would have had to provide paperwork, explain where we were from, who we were and anything else they might have asked. Strange but interesting we thought and just hoped that no one ever asked to see our passports.

A wonderful five days of exploring the awesome sights of Cairo, Egypt and apparently becoming citizens of a different country, or perhaps just incognito?  Maybe we better wear a maple leaf or display a Canadian flag as we continue our travels through Egypt.....along the gringo trail.

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