15 June 2008

Travelogue - Egypt

With this as a reminiscing backdrop, I shall now ostentatiously pat my own back sore :-). I traveled to Egypt. And it just happened.

Unlike my other travelogues (here, here) this one unfortunately would not come out good given the frenetic and unorganized events surrounding the travel. On an official visit, amidst ruins at workplace I found time out for the real ruins:-); the ancient pyramids of Khafre and Khufu. The frown on the Great Sphinx is certainly more enigmatic than the smile on Mona Lisa's face. I took some pics which I am putting up here. A complete album would soon be loaded on Google Photos.

1. Egypt Air has a symbol of Horus on its tail. Horus is the mighty falcon god who is considered the protector. Egypt enthusiasts would have heard of the 'eye of Horus'.

2. Cairo is beautiful, quaint, old and I loved the city. It looks exactly like Mumbai but feels different. Find out what I mean by that.

3. Surprise! Shock! I always thought the pyramids would be way inside lost in the desert wilderness, but the city has grown right up to its altar. Was taken aback when they suddenly loomed behind the dense growth of muti storeyed apartments.

4. Egyptians generally are hoarse in speech and bad tempered. It still runs in the blood after so many centuries I guess

5. Language is a crippling constraint. With influx of millions of visitors from all over the globe, it suprises me how the country has stuck to its Arabic lingua franca

6. I felt a intangible satisfaction in crossing the bridge over the Nile. I have this fancy of crossing rivers and Nile is certainly the most fanciful. Its unusually narrow and serene.

7. Suggestion - Tours and travels are the best way to check out Egypt. Traveling on your own would mean certain rip off by locals. Recommended only if you have a local contact to take you around

8. I quite liked the 'forwardness' of Cairo. Saw young pairs doing the walks, sipping cosy coffee and all. I would be interested to know some statistics on love marriages vs arranged marriages in Egypt given the hardliner backdrop of its immediate east side neighbours.

9. I noticed women wear trendy stuff, even tight fitting but in all my observations I noticed the hair was never let loose and the hands were never bare.

10. Cabs are horrible. The taxis of Mumbai are luxury sedans in front of Egyptian cabs. They look like the cars from a junkyard.

11. There are no coins in circulation. It was funny to be carrying 25 piasta notes.
12. I get a sense the education system in Cairo seems quite effective. Lots of colleges and universities. Think I saw the building of Cairo University on th way and the campus looked very impressive.

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Blogger Radha kuchh to bolti...

I loved Cairo....i thought it was a cross between Mumbai & Sharjah (wierd combination, that!); but the place literally screams of a glorious past gone sour (much like Mumbai).

My experience with Egyptians has been quite different from yours though. Have met a lot of warm Egyptian people. Some of them in Dubai & some when we visitied Cairo. That city is the intellectual capital of the Arab world. Almost all the good Arab literature or arts are/were from Cairo.

6:30 AM  
Blogger yogsma kuchh to bolti...

wow..you are traveling around the world...i wish i will visit Egypt one day :-)

6:15 AM  
Blogger EQUINOX kuchh to bolti...

Awesome dude!!... It sure is on my wishlist!

12:41 AM  
Blogger Moi kuchh to bolti...

awesome sure is the word......i am still craving for more :)

3:10 AM  
Blogger Moi kuchh to bolti...

and i love your treatment of the pics here, 666!

3:12 AM  
Blogger Moi kuchh to bolti...

will we ever get to see these on your long-defunct "my photoblog" ????

12:42 AM  
Blogger Ali kuchh to bolti...

I lived in Cairo for 8 years and it was a wonderful experience, too bad you didn't experience the Fluka at night (traditionmal boat ride on the Nile) and Khan al Khalili. The night life never stops in Cairo which I find it amazing and tiring as well. People go out to clubs in the middle of the week after 12 and 1am and there you have seen women who are not covereing thier hair.
Driving is simple impossible and usualy its faster to walk to your distination.
Egyoptians in nature are loud, funny and very good hearted. They might loose temper but forget easily if you smile to them ;)
Glad you enjoyed it

7:32 PM  

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