Valley of the Nile

Cairo Merchant

We hopped over to Cairo for the weekend.  It was amazing.  Our adventure started on the short (about an hour) plane ride on Egypt Air from Amman to Cairo.  The flight attendants made all the usual requests about staying in your seat during take off, not smoking, and not using your cell phones.  It didn’t take long to realize that either no one listened or maybe they just didn’t care.

The gentleman sitting next to me talked on his cell phone during the takeoff and the climb to cruising altitude (or whenever his signal finally gave out).  Then, about the time we were crossing the Red Sea,  he pulled out his cell phone, changed SIM cards and started making calls all the way into Cairo.

The passenger next to my son decided to indulge in a smoke of his pipe.  Needless to say, Charlie was a little freaked out.

After a quick stop at our hotel our guide, Maggod, gave us a tour of Coptic Cairo that included the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Amr ibn al-As Mosque,

and Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Church (the Hanging Church) which is believed to be the oldest church in Egypt and dates back to the 3rd century.

  

The next morning, we were off for another day of tours, stops, and shopping. First stop, Giza to see the Great Pyramids and the Great Sphinx.

  

We were there early in the morning and already the smog had started to settle in.  Cairo is an amazing city full of commerce, culture, and art, but also horribly over-crowded, polluted, and poor.

Next we visited a shop that sold papyrus paintings.  At the shop, we were treated to a demonstration on the art of making papyrus.  Then it was off to a perfume shop that mixes essential oils to mimic brand name perfumes or custom scents.

 

It had the aire of a tourist trap, but it was still fun to sample all the various oils and learn about the process.

We ended the day at the Mohammed Ali Mosque overlooking Cairo.  

  

Before heading to the airport on our final day, we took a cab (an adventure all in itself) to the Khan el-Khalili Market, an old world bazaar full of shop where owners beckon you in with offers of tea and “to just look, no obligation buy”.

  

It was a great weekend full of fun, culture and art ...... not to mention an awesome passport stamp

© Scudder Photography 2017