Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 1-3 Egypt - Cairo, Sakkara, and Memphis

We are back from our trip to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan.  We were part of a Fun For Less tour group but we got to Cairo a day early from the rest of the tour group.  Day 1 and 2 were spent in travel (actually took 2 days) from Seattle to Chicago to Amman to Cairo.

 We arranged for a private tour of some additional sites for Day 3.  First we went out to Sakkara to see some old tombs and pyramids.  The first stop was the Imhotep Museum.  He was the subject of the Mummy movies but was actually a very smart and popular person.  He was second to the Pharaoh and was the one that came up with the idea of pyramids and several other public work projects.

 This was a small and very old tomb that we got to go into, the tomb of Pharoh Zoser whom Imhotep built the first pyramid for.

 Here we are in the burial chamber.

 The first pyramid was a step pyramid and was for King Zoser and the Egyptians are in the middle of restoring it.

Pyramid next to some tomb buildings.  You can get a feel for how massive the pyramids are.

 We also toured one of the ceremonial temple grounds around the pyramid.  Here are some Egyptians.

The third stop was in Memphis were we saw a temple area and statues of Rames II.

 A large colossus statue of Ramses II that had fallen down.  It's 36 feet tall and weighs 83 tons.

 The artificial beard that they wore was for wisdom and knowledge and separate hats representing  upper and lower Egypt.  The cartouche on his arm is how they always wrote the pharaoh's names with an oval circle around the name.

 A smaller Rames II statue still standing.

 Cairo has about 19+ million people and the buildings were not completely finished by our standards.  They didn't put facing on the structures or sometimes no glass in the windows.  There was often re-bar on top for future floors for their son's families to add onto when they married.  Families like to live in the same building if possible.  We were told they had less taxes if the building wasn't finished, but  we also heard that they just thought it was too expensive to finish the outside and they would rather put the money into a nice inside.They like to own and not rent their apartments.

A cigarette shop with a strange name.

The streets are very crowded and the cars don't pay any attention to lanes.  There was a lot of honking and the cars almost touched each other. There are no crossing areas so people just walk right across right through the traffic (and don't even stop) weaving through moving cars. We even gave it a try and we didn't get hit.

 We stayed at really nice hotels all through the trip. This first hotel was the newest and best in Cairo and connected to a new Mall also.  We bought a Swharma sandwich about 10 inches long for just about $3.00 US and a great ice cream bar for about $2 in the mall.  It was about 5 stories tall and had a lot of American stores in it also.

 In the hotel was an outdoor swimming pool and an indoor hydro-pool pictured here.

Fountains in the lobby.  We had a fun first day after such a long two days travel to get there.

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