August 25, 2004

Felafels, Feluccas & Sheeshas

Have I mentioned that we're digging Cairo?? Today we started the day at the Egyptian Museum, arguably one of the most famous in the world. The place is truly overwhelming and a bit humbling as well: how could it not be when many of the surprisingly intact artifacts are over 5,000 years old? The highlights (for us anyway) had to be King Tutankhamun's (AKA Tut) exhibit, not so much because he was a famous pharaoh (he ruled for just 13 years) but because his tomb was found in tact (i.e. not raided) and all of the amazing artifacts are not only fully cataloged but in great shape. Tut's solid gold mask weighs in at 22 lbs and his coffin over 220 lbs (no gold plating here either). The other winner was the Mummy room, featuring the mummified corpses of eight exceptionally prominent pharoahs, all creepily composed (some still had hair complete with still discernible dye no less).

Post Museum we went to an oasis of a cafe in the middle of the city, with a garden-like feel and yummy felafels to boot.

Humus anyone?

Post lunch we headed up to the Tower of Cairo, which proved nearly as cheesy as it sounds (we were chilled as we left the elevator by the universal soundtrack of bad tourist sites -- Smooth Jazz). That being said the views from this 130M + tower were pretty darn spectacular:

We ended the afternoon with a hike back across town to hire a Feluca, the local term for quaint little sailboats that head up and down the Nile, ferrying tourists around for the sunset for suprisingly little Egyptian pounds. Our captain and the happy couple were miraculously one of only two Feluca's that happened to be in the vicinity, making for a lovely end to the day :-)

Da Nile Ain't Just a River In...

Post cruise we headed to the quaint little Island suburb of Zamalek, where we dined at the consummate (yet surprisingly authentic) Egyptian restaurant Abu as-Sid for some traditional Egyptian fare. After a tasty dinner surrounded by waaay cool decor we enjoyed Shai (mint tea) and a Sheesha (water pipe). Choosing the flavor of tobacco was tough, given the choices:

we settled on cherry (of course) and were not disappointed, as evidenced by the Cheshire cat below:

Alice in wonderland

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