Egypt: Day 2 by Maia Coen

Egypt: Day 2  

The day began with an excursion to the Egyptian museum.  The ride there was significantly less daunting than the previous days due to the fact that it was Friday, the start of their weekend, and there was much less traffic.  The Egyptian museum is practically bursting with artifacts and statues and anything else you could think of from ancient Egypt.  We were told it would take two weeks to see it all.  That of course was an exaggeration but the museum is very plentiful.  Our wonderful guide Hoda took us through the most interesting parts of the museum and gave us excellent history lessons on every selected piece. IMG_9606 Though the museum is plentiful, without Hoda it would have quickly become repetitive.  Without a guide it is difficult to know what you are looking at and I could see how one could get bored easily when there is no provided information.

IMG_9577The king Tut exhibit was a much anticipated highlight.  There was a room dedicated to the things found in his tomb including a plethora of golden amulets that were tucked between the linens of his mummy, canopic jars that originally contained his organs, and of course his famous golden face mask.  The amount of wealth left in his tomb was astounding.  Everything was pure 24 caret gold and many objects were inlaid with precious stones.  We learned that his tomb was actually quite small since he was a child king who only ruled a few years.  Imagine how much wealth would have been in the tomb of a king of 50 years? Once Hoda was finished with her tour we were released for an hour of free time within the museum.  My dad and I opted to visit the mummy section.  Ever since 6th grade when I learned about ancient Egypt I have wanted to come to Egypt.  I did my main project on the process of mummification.  It was amazing for me to see real mummies in the place where they came from.  Seeing something up close and personal is always so exciting when you’ve been looking at it in textbooks for so long.

IMG_9629After a nice lunch of falafel and kabobs the group piled onto the bus and headed for the pyramids.  I was jumping up and down by the time we were inside the gates.  And there it was; the great pyramid of Giza.  It was bigger and more magnificent than I could have ever imagined.  The stones were the size of me and they climbed up and up and up.  It is impossible to look at a picture and comprehend the true magnitude of it.  The pyramid was the color of Egypt.IMG_2204

IMG_9642Once finished with the great pyramid we went on to briefly visit the small and medium sized ones to take photographs.  Those who wanted to were able to enter the small pyramid.  We continued on to a panoramic view of all of the pyramids and prepared to ride camels.  I took my photos and made my way to the camels.  I’ve heard a lot about camels from my parents and their experiences.  I was wary of being too close to their faces on account of them possibly nipping at me.  IMG_9639I reached up and grabbed the knob on the box-like saddle they donned and pulled myself up.  I held on tight as the camels back legs came up and I was thrust forward and then as the front legs came back I was thrust backwards.  If you’re not holding on you’re not staying on.   As the camel began to move along in the sand I held on tight and hoped for the best.  I am so glad I did it.  I was high up, I could see the pyramids, and I was simply happy to be able to say I have ridden a camel.  The ride was quite easy and short and I enjoyed every minute of it.  It is definitely something I would recommend and do again, as long as it was not more than half an hour.  I got some beautiful pictures of myself on the camel with the pyramids in the background.  The perfect tourist experience.

IMG_9652We ended the day with a trip to the Sphinx.  It too was spectacular.  I learned that the lack of a nose and other features was not in fact from the French using it as target practice as I had previously been informed, but actually due to erosion.  Much less sexy.  I took a selfie with the Sphinx and was overjoyed with the day’s events.  IMG_9654An important thing to mention about Egypt is since everything became so tumultuous here Americans are afraid to visit, as I’m sure you’re aware.  I assume because of this I am a constant item of interest to the Egyptians.  They stare quite openly and the bolder of them ask to take a picture.  I say yes every time, happy to make them happy.

photos with locals

I’ve been photographed without being asked, I’ve been photographed after being asked, I’ve been asked to take pictures with others, but today something even crazier happened.  A woman approached me and asked me to hold her newborn baby for a photograph.  I was shocked but took the baby and posed for several pictures.  She said thank you and took the baby back and I was left unable to comprehend what had just happened.  After this I can’t imagine anything stranger could occur. I have been in Egypt for two days and I have already seen so much.  What a way to start the tour.

I’m unbelievably exhausted, the air is filled with pollution, and my hair is completely covered in desert dirt but I have never felt more engaged in travel as I did today.