Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Susan of Arabia
The only way to get up close to the Giza pyramids is on camel or horseback. I arranged a ride on Moses and here we are smiling for the camera. We started around 9:00 AM so it was not too hot and crowded yet. It was well worth the expense…
After several hours exploring Giza, I headed off to Imhotep and Saqqara. They had a small museum and I was able to walk down into one of the tombs. This chamber was for one of his three wives.
My guide and I had lunch in a restaurant called the Oasis in a Bedouin tent. We ate all our food with our fingers and about 4 hours later I had a much extended stay in the bathroom. The good news is Achmed had just dropped me off at the hotel so I did not embarrass myself.
This is the smiling Acmed and I must say most people I have encountered were always smiling whether I had my camera out or not.
The last stop was Mit Rahina in Memphis where I saw a fabulous statute of Ramses.
Everyone I have met has been extremely friendly and most speak English very well. They are interested in providing service but they expect tips for everything. One person who pulled off part of my ticket at the museum asked out for a tip as did the tourism police. Acmed explained the average salary for people working at Tourist sites is 600 Egyptian Pounds about $100 US a month. It is a very poor county and he explained there are an upper class and the poor, no middle class and he believes until Mubarak is replaced as their leader, there will not be a middle class. This is just one man’s view of politics and economics in Egypt.
I had arranged a trip to Alexandria today but my stomach was not settled yet and I cancelled the trip and took it easy with a little shopping in the afternoon. I visited one of the Carpet schools (could not take pictures of students on the looms). If they work for 4 hours at the carpet school, they are able to go to regular school for five hours a day at no charge. I fell in love with 12 year old twins working one loom. They said it’s boring but they could not afford to go to school if they did not work at the Carpet school. They only work on silk and the school produces beautiful work. Of course I found a small red one that will hang in my living room when I return. I wish the twins got a % of the sale.
Tomorrow will be my last day in Cairo and I will visit the Cairo Museum, The citadel, Arab and Old Cairo, the bazaar etc. before I leave for Nairobi and finally arrive in Kigali on Friday morning.