What is the first thing that you think of when the word “Egypt” is said? I do not want to say about what is in your mind, but at least, if you type it on Google, the first 24 images that pop-up are about the Pyramids. The three famous ones: the Pyramid of Menkaure, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Pyramid of Khufu. For sure, they are impressive, a master piece of the history. It is amazing to think how those people were already so developed. What would happen if they were not extinct? How developed they would be now? (Much more than many other nations nowadays).
On this post, I cannot talk about Egypt as a country, as I still didn’t have the opportunity to visit places like Luxor, Sinai, Alexandria or the famous Upper Egypt, where many of my good friends are from. However, it was almost the birthday of one of my best friends in Lebanon, who is actually from USA. Jason Lemon (someone that I may write about him one day), he practically “demanded” me and our other friend, Chandler Jordana (a person who is in the group of “the funniest people that I have met in my life”), to fly with him to Cairo with the argument: “It is my birthday!”, so we couldn’t say anything but “Yes!”
We got a really cheap hostel. And when I say cheap, it was not only about the price, but also about everything there that looked really “cheap”; with many “peculiar” guests… Well, there are some “unique” experiences that only a poor travel budget can provide to you, like a guy with a crutch following you when you go in the bathroom. Nevertheless, I had my two buddies with me, so it was all fine. Actually, being with my two guy-friends was an essential thing on this trip. Not only in Egypt, but also in some others Arabian countries, it is saver for girls to be with a guy, or with other girls, and not walk too much alone. It is not usually, even for the culture, for girls to be walking alone, so take your friend, and go ahead!
Another essential help, was that we had a local friend there to take and explain to us everything around, and make all the prices much cheaper! We know that as a tourist that bargaining is a survival action in many places in the world. However, when you have someone to bargain for you in the local language, it is always better! Peter was our guide, our negotiator, sometimes our driver, and our host for one night, giving us the pleasure of enjoying being among his family, and a lot of good food! (Here is a tip: if an Arab family invites you to eat, go with your stomach empty, because Arabs are really generous, and the food is tasty!!!).
Cairo is a big busy city. With many viaducts, lights and outdoors in everywhere, plus the mix of High-Tec and old buildings easily find in any developing city. The metro works better than many others do around the world, taking you to almost everywhere, and for a cheap price. By the way, travelling through Middle Eastern countries, compared to European countries, is not that cheap. Because of the petrol and politician conflicts, in some countries, the local money is almost the same price of the US dollar, or even more expensive at times. However, Egypt is an exception. Everything there is cheap, almost in the level of South-Asian countries. Nevertheless, bargaining is necessary!
We walked through long streets of markets between our hostel and the Nile River, a place full of life, people eating and talking together, and dancing. If there is something that could summarizes the Middle East, apart from what the media’s opinions, is dancing and good food, which is much more often than the bad news spread about this region.
To go to the Egyptian Museum is as important as to go to the Pyramids, for the ones who like history and not only taking selfies with famous monument at the background. Peter took us through different places, mosques, churches, markets by metro, vans, taxis… And like in a travel movie, a guy on the street invited us to follow him to a “secret place”; obviously, you should NEVER do this, but we did.
The person took us to the top of a tower in a mosque. It wasn’t even an allowed placed to go. We had to walk on the roof to get to the highest place of the tower, where we could see all Cairo. For sure, after that he took us to his shop, which sells “original” papyrus, that we will never know if it was original or not, but it was a worthy experience, especially, because we were all fine after that.
Ahhh yeah, and the Pyramids! A hot place, full of sellers, where you will never know if you are paying the right price or not, but with a priceless historical value.
About Egypt, we will see each other again, especially because, Egypt is not only a country, is the “Mother of the nations”. And the most important thing is that you cannot leave Egypt without eating koshari!
Check out the pictures from this trip in Cairo, Egypt (Gallery).