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July 10, 2006 – A journey to Cairo, Egypt in Africa

Cairo: In Africa And The Middle East At The Same Time

My good friend Andrea has landed in Egypt to join us for this part of the trip. Woot-woot!

I got accustomed to the different change of scenery of the Middle East via Dubai. Immersing myself into the Egyptian culture quickly was thankfully without any great effort. Lots of diversity can be observed in the population here. Many people wear their traditional dress as well, whether Muslim, Bedouin, Nubian, or Western wear.

Egyptians hanging out under a big umbrella in the desert heat

They say that Egypt has a major tout scene, littered with lots of scams. But for some reason, I didn't feel the blatant presence of a tout industry like I did in Rajasthan, India. Likewise with baksheesh (tip/small money), which is supposedly quite integrated in Egyptian society. The people, including the touts, have been quite nice and welcoming here, a bit more genuine, so to speak. I also don't feel like they look at me as if I'm a donation machine or that they expect baksheesh all the time.

The next day, we went to visit the sites that Egypt is most famous for: the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. For some reason, I thought that there were many pyramids and many sphinxes in Egypt. Actually, the Great Pyramids of Giza consists of three major ones for the pharaohs and a few smaller ones for the queens (there are a few more pyramids at a different location). And boy were they monstrous!

The Sphinx lies a few meters away from the Pyramids. In any case, the quantity of pyramids of course does not matter! It's a wonder how they even built the gargantuan three in the first place – especially during the summer when outrageous temperatures can soar up to 50 degrees Celsius.

Pyramids of Giza

at the foot of the Pyramid of Cheops

We went to the Egyptian Museum in the afternoon. Amazing to see how many pieces they have. Plus they're all from many different civilizations and time periods – some even from 4000 to 5000 years ago. Probably many people know this already, but it's been quoted that if you look at each item for a minute in the museum, it would take nine months to finish!

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