Saturday, April 9, 2016

Egypt part 1 - Arrival into Cairo and the Egyptian museum

April 9 - 10, 2016

We flew into Cairo and grabbed our bags. Shaun had found a backpackers blog about Egypt and it suggested only using the airport taxis. We made our way through the airport following the taxi signs being followed by the limousine people touting their wares. We insisted on finding the local taxis. We were successful and bartered with the driver until a mutual agreed price was found. We loaded the bags and our bodies and off we went into the crazy Cairo traffic. I thought Turkey was crazy....... that was just preparing me for Cairo.

As we were driving along to the cacophony of car horns we started to notice a trend of security, police and army stationed every 50 meters. Not only this but there were also huge cement barricades protecting key areas. It was a lot to take in while weaving in and out of traffic within inches of other vehicles. I don’t think we saw any vehicles without dents. I could see people arriving from long distances being overwhelmed by the craziness of it all. Turkey prepared us for the pandemonium of Cairo.

We also were told that Egypt is dirty but that didn’t prepare us for just how dirty it is. Cairo has 23 million people living in the city and another 6 million that commute from outside into work everyday. Add in the lack of education about recycling and the end result is a very dirty city. We watched as people tossed garbage onto the ground without hesitation. Where we are from recycling is HUGE. We recycle everything which made the garbage and dirt so hard to swallow.

Once we started to look beyond the garbage it was very interesting to see the chaos unfold. Amongst the cars and motorcycles we noticed many working donkeys pulling wagons filled with many different items (flowers, alfalfa, cotton). We also started to notice how people crossed the street. At first we thought it was a suicide mission. It turns out that there is real art in crossing the street. The first time it needs to be done is quite an experience. Once you get over that first crossing they get a little bit easier. 

Our taxi driver made his way to the Fairmont on the Nile hotel - (it took us just over an hour but well worth it). It was an amazing hotel and the service was impeccable (we splurged as this Fairmont would be the only one within our budget). Sometimes a little too much service (we barely put down a glass or dish and the hovering waiter would pick it up). The room was very nice with the softest sheets that we have experienced. It was hard to get out of bed because they were so soft. 

The day of our arrival was spent lazing around the hotel and enjoying the posh surroundings. We had a lovely dinner at one of the 4 restaurants and then went to bed.

The following day Shaun arranged a car to take us to the Egyptian museum. We arrived down to the concierge to find out that Egypt is 1 hour behind Turkey (we had an extra hour). They promptly called another car for us and off we went. The driver was very informative as he drove along though the throngs of cars. As we were chatting we found out that he used to be a University professor until he retired. He took up driving a taxi to alleviate his boredom.

We arrived at the museum and purchased the tickets. We decided that we would buy 1 photography ticket and share it between the two of us. So very glad that we did as there was so much to see.

Upon entering the building all bags are scanned. This was a trend that we were becoming accustomed to (they do it at the hotel as well).

The museum was incredible. The artefacts were beautiful and plentiful. The downfall was the lack of information for most pieces with the exception of main pieces. More than 1 day would be useful for this museum because there is so much to see.

Everyone was getting tired so we made our way up to see the much anticipated King Tut gallery. There were no pictures allowed which was a bit disappointing. The exhibit was incredible. Shaun and I both wondered how Howard Carter (the fellow that discovered King Tuts tomb) must have felt when he uncovered this profound discovery. The amount of gold and the number of tombs that encased King Tut's mummy were mind blowing. The intricate carvings, jewellery, Canonic jars that held organs, and the 11 kilo helmut of gold were spectacular. We did pass up looking at the royal mummies and in hindsight, wish we had ventured in to see them. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Paige was in heaven seeing several items that were in her grade 7 social studies textbook (in the first term of Socials she was studying ancient Egypt). She was hoping that we would see a statue of a blue hippo and as we were making our way to the exit discovered the actual statue. By this time the camera and the GoPro were both dead oops!

In leaving the museum we were made to scan the bags again just like when we entered the museum. I sent my bag through the scanner and then walked through the metal detector. The security guard said to me "You have a rock in your bag"...... I blanked and then suddenly remembered the piece of terra cotta planter piece that Jordan picked up in Capadoccia and asked me to put in my bag........ I am so very lucky that the guard didn't take me to a side room for a more extensive search. Note to self, take all rocks out of my bag before we go to any museums where there are ancient artefacts.

entrance to the Egyptian museum
scarab beetle at the entrance
this gives you an idea of how large the entrance doorway is
replica of the Rosetta Stone
statue of King Senwosret I when he was still alive (one leg in front of the other)
information about the above statue
amazing artefact with incredible hieroglyphics 
stunning hieroglyphics

beautiful colours

first surviving colossal statue of the head of king Userkaf in red granite from the Vth Dynasty
large column of hieroglyphics
the sheer size of some of the items was incredible
this statue is a masterpiece of the private statuary of the Old Kingdom (5th Dynasty). It is know as Sheikh el-Balad made from Sycamore.

statue of King Chephren

taking a rest

limestone statue of Ty from his well know tomb in Saqqara

one of the eleven wooden statues of Mitri

group representing the dwarf Seneb, chief of the dwarfs

very cool statue

Paige in here element
Set and Horus
block statue of Hetep

a creepy/haunted statue.....

now there's craftsmanship
projection on the wall of an artefact
the artefact that was being projected on the wall

canopic jars

more artefacts in crates
huge statues in the centre of the museum

centre area of the museum

eye of Ra

Shabti's - servants for the afterlife

Another great adventure!

Follow our video adventures on our YouTube channel: Video adventures of s/v Element

No comments:

Post a Comment