August 24, 2004


Turns out we should not have been off-put by the broken English of the customs agent at the airport yesterday...the woman who greeted us prior to baggage claim had handed us a bottle of little yellow pills mumbling something to the effect that we should "take them". My mom taught me never to accept drugs from strangers (at least not in a foreign country on the day you arrive if that day happens to be the last Monday of the month) so we declined. Perhaps that proved Janet's downfall as she was laid up in bed w/ a fever :-(.

On my own in chaotic Cairo I faired surprisingly well ;-). First I headed to the Mosque of Ibn Tulin, Cairo's oldest actively used Mosque, built in AD 876. I was a little surprised that the guy screaming WESTERN TOURIST was ushered in to a holy place without so much as a batted eyelash...but I was asked to cover my feet with these strange little booties:

I think made quite the fashion statement in retrospect

The Mosque is said to be one of Cairo's most beautiful...and while this was my first ever, architecturally speaking it certainly was impressive:

Endless halls of Ibn Tulin

Tulin's courtyard

Next I headed up to MosqueMadrassa of Sultan Hassan, one of the finest built in the Mulmak period (14th century) and its neighbor Mosque of Ar-Rifai, built 4oo years later but in a strikingly similar style:

Hassan (left) and his near twin Ar-rafai (right)

Hassan was especially impressive, despite the fact that it was only halfway completed before Hassan was assassinated (and the project fell to disarray). Climbing through dark passageways to walk into a massive courtyard made me feel part Indiana Jones, part shutterbug.

Afterwards I trudged up a long avenue to the Citadel, a fortress protecting Egypt's rulers for over 700 years, featuring pretty awe-inspiring views of the Cairo skyline:

The Citadel

Afterwards I went back to the hotel to visit my thankfully recovered wife (it's the yoga as I'm sure she's told you ;-)) and we headed across the Nile for din din.

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