Saturday, October 15, 2005
alone in Egypt
Well, I am alone now. I am more alone now than I have ever been in my life. It is kinda scary to think about it. The course I took had some perks... they offered complementary trips: a one day trip to Cairo to see the pyramids, the sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum, and then a 3 night trip to the Red Sea after the course (staying at the Marriot Beach Resort)After the course finished in Alex, we all went to Sharm el-Sheik (near where the bombings were in the past). The Red Sea is so beautiful. We spent a few days there lounging around on the beach and snorkling in Ras Mohammed national park (coral reefs). The snorkling was amazing. I bought a snorkle set but some guy on another boat stepped on my mask and the glass shattered (several boats were tied together when we were eating). The company said they would do something about it, but when I was supposed to go check on it, I wasn't able to because of a screw up with our bus tickets to Cairo. Ian and Kristen both had to leave Sharm a day early to make their flights. Back in Cairo, Megan split off to stay with Taha, her American/Egyptian boyfriend. Alex had only one full day here. We checked out the Citadel and some Mosques. We got to go up into the minaret (sorry, don't know how to spell it) of one. The next day, Kate, Bryn and I went to Saqqara, Dashur, and Memphis. The step pyramid is in Saqqara. We went into one of the pyramids there. To get into the pyramids, we had to go down a very long, small shaft, crouching the entire way. The air is very stale. There were hyroglyphs everywhere inside. I got to ride a donkey around the area. So fun. I rode a camel in Giza and wanted to ride something else. Then we went to Dashur to see the bent pyramid. We went to the Red (?) pyramid first and went inside. This one, we had to climb stairs quite a ways up the side before going down an even longer shaft. There wasnt' much to see inside, though. From there, we went to the outdoor museum in Memphis to see the giant statue of Ramses II. Kate left the night before last, so yesterday Bryn and I went to Islamic Cairo to see Beit as-Suhaymi, a traditional family mansion. It was like a maze that seemed to keep going. Once we saw everything there, we went to Coptic/old Cairo. I went there the last time I was in Cairo, but Bryn wasn't here then. We spent her last evening at a little coffee shop in Khan al-Khalili (a giant market place) smoking a mixed fruit sheesha and talking to the Egyptians that we ended up sitting with. The coffee shop is in an alley and there is very little sitting room. I am going to spend a couple of days here in Cairo just trying to figure out where I want to go and when. I don't want to just float around as I want to see as much as I possibly can. I want to go back to the Sinai because I want to go on the Mount Sinai trek... Up the mountain on a camel up to the last bit which is a 1 hour hike to the top, where I will see the sunrise.I will probably go back to Alexandria first, because I want to change some of the things that I am carrying. I can leave stuff at the school, which is a good thing. I bought a suitcase to leave there... For some reason, it is almost full. Somehow, the things that I came with and the few things that I have bought so far, have expanded. I will either go to Siwa oasis first or go down to Aswan to start.