Yes, we are back in Cairo. This time to do some sight seeing. We stayed at the Mena House Hotel. We woke up looking at the great pyramids. A beautiful hotel with a great historical past. See link for more details about this hotel: http://www.menahousehotel.com/history.html
Hum, a zoo. A skunk on a camel. What next? monkey on a dog?
Yes I rode him around the block. And yes, he stunk! Worse than the skunk!
First we visited the Saqqana Museum. This museum is located about 40 miles south of Cairo in Memphis. A new museum has since been constructed at this location. More information at: http://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/imhotep-museum/
While in Memphis we also visited the Djoser Pyramid,more commonly known as the Step Pyramid. This pyramid is the oldest known stone pyramid in Egypt. For more info go to: http://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/pyramid-and-mortuary-complex-of-djoser/
Our next stop was at an Egyptian carpet factory. Child labor? Yes, but it is not as bad as it seems. Children work at the factory for about 4 hours each day. They receive pay and more importantly, schooling. They get three meals a day and an education. When they reach about 12-14 years old their fingers have grown too big to do the increment designs this weaving required for these beautiful rugs and must move on to other occupations. They looked happy, fell nourished and excited to be working there. Did we buy a carpet? Yes! and we got to meet the two girls that mad it. They were very proud of their work and excited that they got to meet us.
We brought this carpet back with us.
We were able to meet the two girls
that made it and talk to them about it.
They said it took them about 8 months to weave.
This Egyptian calendar is hand painted on papyrus paper. Papyrus is made from the stem of the papyrus plant, The outer rind is first removed, and the sticky fibrous inner pith is cut lengthwise into thin strips of about 16 in long. The strips are then placed side by side on a hard surface with their edges slightly overlapping, and then another layer of strips is laid on top at a right angle. The strips may have been soaked in water long enough for decomposition to begin, perhaps increasing adhesion, but this is not certain. The two layers possibly were glued together. While still moist, the two layers are hammered together, mashing the layers into a single sheet. The sheet is then dried under pressure. After drying, the sheet is polished with some rounded object, possibly a stone or seashell or round hardwood.
What would a trip to Egypt be without a visit to pyramids? We visited the three great pyramids. Click here for additional information: http://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/introduction-to-giza/ While we were visiting one, a commercial was being shot for a clothing line. I think it was for The United Colors of Benetton. When the pyramids were built,, they were covered with a plaster finish. This finish had eroded away but one still shows it as a cap at the top.
Of course we visited the Sphinx. This man headed lion statue is synonymous with Egypt. See: http://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-sphinx/ for more facts about this icon.
Another "must see" place is the Cairo Museum of National Antiquities or more simply known as the National Museum. You could spend weeks exploring this place. This place is the Smithsonian of Ancient Egypt. I hope the current unrest in Egypt has not resulted in looting of this museum as it has in many other places in the Middle East. Go to http://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/cairo-museum-of-egyptian-antiquities/ to see more.
This is the mummy of the boy-king; Tutankamun. It is housed in a temperature controlled plexiglas casing which made photography really hard. Yes, it is pretty much covered in gold.
Our last stop in Cairo was the Citadel or fortress and The great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque. This area is a "Johnny Come Lately" compared to the other sights we saw, being completed in 1848. Additional info at: http://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/the-citadel/ Yes, we were allowed to enter and view the interior of the mosque. Muslims do not generally restrict who can enter their mosques with the exception of the Holy Cities, Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Okay, who is this lovely lady?
She was our personal guide in Cairo.
Good think Ms Skunk was along to keep me out of trouble.
From Egypt we next visited Jordan. Click below to go along.