It’s been a week in Egypt and I’m getting settled in. Classes are good, and I’ve already picked out favorite snack places near my residence. I’ve reaffirmed that the best juice is available off the street, and that in the U.S. we don’t do fresh juices right. I’ve never had anything stateside that compares to the fresh watermelon, avocado (like ice cream), or orange juice that I’ve found here, or in Morocco.
This past week I visited the Cairo Tower, the highest point in the city. A wraparound balcony provides a 360 degree view as far as the pollution will allow, which was just enough to see the hazy outline of the pyramids in the distance. The tower purportedly has a revolving cafe, but it appeared to be out of commission when I visited. At night the tower is supposed to have a light show, although so far I have only seen it one of two colors: green or purple. It is a nice reference point at night either way though, and an interestingly modern addition to a city with so much history and age.
When traveling, I am consistently amazed with how old things are. Seriously though. As an American, I find it mind-boggling to be able to see and visit places that are easily older than my very country. While it’s true that it’s not as hard to find old relics in museums, structures are something different. They have withstood time, the elements, and (most impressively) people for hundreds or even thousands of years.
This weekend I visited one of the oldest structures I may ever see: the Great Pyramids of Giza. It was certainly one of the most impressive, and an amazing to consider how much the world has changed in the 4000 years they have been standing. The Great Pyramid is also the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to still exist.
It’s also hard to convey how big they are. In most pictures it looks like it would be easy to stroll up the side like a flight of stairs. It turns out that each “step” is at least half my height though, which (if legal) would turn a walk up the side into more of a climb. Of course, no visit the Pyramids is without a trip inside one, and I made sure to do that while I was there as well.
The whole of the Giza Necropolis was also pretty empty. There were of course tourists and the accompanying vendors vying for their attention with offers to ride camels and horses or buy model replicas of Egyptian symbols, but on the whole the place wasn’t very busy. I had heard that tourism had been affected by the revolutions and security concerns, but this really showed me just how much.
Other than that I don’t have much to report! I’ll be trying to get out into Cairo more over the next week and maybe plan a trip to Alexandria or farther out.