Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cairo

Hi Bloggers,

Well, the main highlights of Egypt were the Pyramids and the trip down to Luxor (see previous blogs). However, Cairo itself is also an amazing place. As in so many developing countries, it's a mixture of beauty and ugliness. It's location on the Nile is truly stunning, and gives it a feel of real grandeur. Just the sheer width of the river with its islands, bridges, cruisers and adjacent skyscrapers! Also the architecture of most of the city is from the early 20th century, which creates an atmosphere of faded glory, most of the buildings having now become pretty shabby unfortunately. In it's day it must have looked really opulent, though.





















There were many features of the city I enjoyed, the main ones being the soukhs and bazaars, the river, the food, the museums, the hubub of the street life, the cafes and, of course, the Egyptians themselves. They were all so different fr0m anything in Asia, where I've spent the last nine years. It was a really refreshing experience!














One thing I really noticed, though, was the absence of women in the forefront, in strong contrast to a country like Thailand, where women seem to almost run the place. I must admit I don't like the way women are repressed in Islamic culture, though Egypt is nowhere near as bad as places like Saudi , where they have to wear the full burkha.

















The Egyptians were friendly, but in a very macho kind of way. You always felt under pressure to shape up .... or else! The downside of being with Egyptians was the dreaded "baksheesh".. Just couldn't get away from it. It seems to pervade the whole culture. It's more than just an optional tip. You're really expected to pay it, and as a foreigner I'm sure I payed well over the odds!


More coming,












































7 comments:

Genchiro said...

Fabulous cyber picture the one of the boats at night! A piece of Art!
Gerrit

X-TraordANNary said...

Ahhh Bangkok Bridge!! Kidding'!!!

tropicalrob said...

Hi Ann!

Thanks for your comment. I like your picture too. You must start putting up a few blogs of your own.

Yes, doesn't Cairo look like Bangkok!? I was surprised how similar the River Nile is. Very similar atmosphere, and you can go on ferries and cruises, etc. The only difference is that the Nile in Cairo has a big island in the middle.

For more pictures, click on the Cairo pics link.

Have a nice day!

Mrs Marshall said...

Dear Rob

Thank you so much for your help with my header. It's not all the way across the top like it used to be, but I have got it above my posts which is much better.

Like your pictures of Egypt - I always wanted to go and see pyramids, (being a maths teacher, but when I tried the Foreign Office banned UK subjects from going, so I went to Mexico instead and saw different pyramids!

All the best
Mrs M

El-Branden Brazil said...

Hi Rob!

I had no idea you had gone to Egypt. I am returning for four weeks in the summer. It deservedly earns its reputation as an amazing, fascinating place; and a change from our Asian stomping ground.

Of course, I have to disagree about the Pyramids being boring. For myself, I found them spectacular - certainly in contemplating the millennia that they have stood watch over. Did you go to Saqqara and Dashur? It's really worth visiting these places, so that you get an insight into the development of pyramid design from the oldest standing structure in the world, Zjoser's Step Pyramid, the the failed Bent Pyramid and finally onto the Red Pyramid, which was the first true pyramidal monument.

Reading your blog, I sense that you may be yearning to return there.

Best wishes,

Branden

El-Branden Brazil said...

Oh, I do hope that you got to visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A truly staggering collection of treasures. Being able to stare into the face of Ramses II is an honour that I will never forget. It brings to life the many monuments he had constructed of himself.

tropicalrob said...

Hi Branden,

Great to hear from you! Actually, I did go to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which I agree was pretty impressive. Yes, must admit I'd like to go back to Egypt. Maybe I was a bit negative about the pyramids. Probably cos I'd had a big family row in England just before. My elder brother periodically lays into me and systematically trashes me. I still had all that stuff spinning round my head. It may have influenced my perception. I enjoyed Luxor terrifically, though. I rented a bike and rode around. Really great! How are things there in Japan?

Cheers,
Robert