Languages: Arabic (official), English, French
It's amazing how time flies! Thirty years have past since I was here. At that time, I was full of unanswered questions and my most productive years were still ahead of me. Now those busy years are behind me and I have more time for questioning.
Like many ancient peoples, the Egyptians did not question the existence of an afterlife. They believed in it so strongly that they spent the lives of millions of slaves to provide their supreme leaders with everything they would need in the nether world. I don't know what good all the pyramids and temples did for the Pharaohs but what is left is now the basis of a thriving tourist industry. Sometimes I wonder what the Pharaohs believed about their slaves' afterlife!
|Lonely Planet CIA|
I flew in from Montreal via Morocco and it was almost midnight when my flight landed in Cairo airport. I did not have a reservation so I started to look for a room in the center. Walking around with my backpack in the middle of the night was definitely uncomfortable.
An Egyptian called Tahar came up to me and volunteered to accompany me because he felt that it was not safe to roam alone. I was grateful and relieved for I felt the same way. By then, it was past one AM and most of the smaller hotels in the center were either full up or locked. Finally we found a place in the Ismailia Hotel, on the 8th floor of this building on Midan Tahir (Tahir Square) and my friendly guide went on his way.
There are magnificent views of the city from the top of Cairo Tower on Gezira Island. I was more than two weeks in Cairo. I did the usual sight seeing but I also lost a lot of time running all over Cairo to get as many as possible of the visas I would need for my trip.
This is what the Cairo Tower looked like when I came here on business in September1966.
Saida al Hussein Mosque near Al Azhar University.
Khan el Khalili Bazaar
Entrance to the Cairo Citadel.
Military Museum inside the Citadel
Mohammed Ali Mosque inside the Citadel.
Courtyard of the Mohammed Ali Mosque
Sultan Hassan & Al Rifa'i Mosques on Midan Salah al Din seen from the parapet of the Citadel.
It was a long walk back to the hotel from the Citadel through small and sometimes muddy alleys like this one.
Qijmas al Ishaqi Mosque in Sharia al Tabbanah (al Tabbanah street), in so called Islamic Cairo.
Sultan Mu'ayyad Sheik Mosque in Sharia al Tabbanah. Were it not for the odd car and motorcycle, the narrow alleys of Islamic Cairo look like they must have looked a couple of centuries ago.
Guess who that is behind me!
A friendly camel and I.
The big one behind me is Cheops.
There was a compulsory 10 day waiting period to get a visa for Eritrea so I decided to visit Jordan during that time.