Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Because we got into Cairo so early in the morning we couldn't check into our hotel; thus, we had a whole day of activities laid out for us. We first headed to Saqqara. Saqqara is the oldest-known step pyramid in Egypt. It was kind of an experiment in pyramid building. Rulers would build their tomb and then build a roof over it (the first step). This particular ruler (Djoser) decided that he would just continue putting roofs on his tomb, and thus, the first pyramid was born. It is solid rock, unlike the Great Pyramids, which are hollow and have rooms inside.

Shortly after entering the park, we were surrounded by people trying to sell us things. "POSTCARDS!" "CAMEL!" "DONKEY!" "NECKLACE!" "HATS!" Andrew calls it "running the gauntlet" because you just have to plow your way through them. In the midst of our plowing through I was snatched up by an Egyptian man and plopped on a donkey. I was mad. I didn't want to be on the donkey. I didn't want to pay to be on the donkey. And I certainly didn't want some random man tossing me up on a donkey. (Ezra was tossed onto a donkey as well, but he's 2. I'm 21. People don't pick me up and toss me in the air anymore. At least, they shouldn't). The whole time I'm saying, "No! No! Laa! Laa!..." and trying to get off the donkey (except here where Andrew is like, "Smile." I think he thought it was funny). Well, I finally did get off that donkey and when I did, the guy baksheeshed me! I told him that I didn't have any money for him and that he should have asked before he put me on the donkey. Perhaps I should have given him a tip...but I didn't really enjoy myself (especially when he put his sweaty headdress on my head!) and I didn't have any money. Andrew had it.

While I was busy making Egyptian donkey-ride sellers mad, Andrew was off making new friends.

I think the fly was trying to either eat something off his shirt, or eat the shirt itself. Either way, we couldn't get him to leave. He just walked all around Andrew's shoulder and every time we'd try to wave him off, he'd just relocate. The fly was on Andrew for about 10 minutes or so. Andrew was flapping his arms and blowing on him to see if he would leave, but he stuck it out. Eventually I gave him a good hard flick (taking all my anger at the donkey man out on the fly).

Besides being harassed by donkey-ride sellers, Ezra and I had a good time chasing each other between all the columns.

After Saqqara we went to a nearby carpet weaving school (so that Fauzi could try to get us to buy stuff again). Their presentation was not quite as comedic as the alabaster factory we visited, but we did learn that we didn't want to buy anything there. A little carpet the size of a standard textbook costs around 300 USD. Instead of going up to the store at the end of their presentation, Andrew and I stayed down in the workshop and watched them weave. Some of the girls invited me to weave and so I sat down and weaved with them for a while. Remember that...the next time you go to Egypt to purchase a rug, I might have worked on it. Andrew was pretty popular as well. He had about 10 young ladies around him who were very upset when they found out he was married. They gave him some strands of silk as a memoir.

We ate lunch at a really fancy restaurant. It cost 30 EGP per person (that's a pretty outrageous price considering Andrew and I ate for 10 EGP for both of us at other places). The food was good, but I'm not sure it was completely worth it...we think that Fauzi got another cut here because no one would tell us what the actual prices were. Hmmmmm...

After lunch we were herded back on the bus again to head to the Great Pyramids. The trip so far has seemed more like a slave-driving experience than a fun-filled journey...but it does slow down soon...Ezra had had enough of getting on and off the bus so we were playing games on the bus. One of his favorites is getting stuck. I don't know why that is one of his favorites, but who can fully understand the mind of a 2-year-old? Besides, it kept us both entertained.

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