“If you were my kid, I’d slap some sense into you,” I heard that amongst other non-supportive words when I told people I was going to Cairo. Our news media has people scared to travel to this fascinating country, but honestly, stuff happens even in your own backyard.
Going to Cairo was the most interesting place I’ve ever been to date, Italy is runner-up.
Yes, Cairo is chaotic. Yes, it’s a mega city littered with trash, it’s everywhere, there’s no legit garbage collector. Yes, it was hot, since I went in August, but funny enough, Idaho and California temperatures soared higher.
No, I never once felt unsafe. My Airbnb host and my tour guides made sure I was 100% secure. I never once felt in danger.
If you’re like me, then you learned about Egypt and the it’s pyramids and Pharaoh’s in elementary school. Ancient Egyptian history is probably something that interest everyone, in one way or another, and with good reason, no matter if you only read about it or go visit the sights, it’s hard not to be in awe.
I booked my room with Mahmoud, on Airbnb, for three reasons: great reviews, he’s a tour guide and the apartment has a view of the pyramids. One stop shopping, I love travel simplicity.
Mahmoud has a few apartments, one to fit any size party. His family lives in the complex, so he is available in an instant, if you need him. The Wi-Fi works well, but the tap goes dry sometimes. This is a country water issue, so Mahmoud is not at fault. I had no problems in the mornings, thankfully, so showering went as planned.
I didn’t use the kitchen to cook, since dinners were supplied by his mom or my tour guides stopped and bought me something local. Mahmoud stocked the refrigerator with breakfast foods, bottle water and juice.
The area is a newly developed suburb. I walked alone during the daytime and felt safe. There are grocery stores and restaurants within ten minutes. This is a Muslim country, so be respectful and cover yourself up ladies. Bring a scarf to cover up your bare shoulders and collarbone and don’t wear shorts.
Mahmoud is a wonderful host and now he is someone I consider my friend. The Egyptian hospitality is fantastic.
The apartment is located an hour from the airport with a view of the pyramids. It’s a frantic introduction to Cairo if you are not the passenger. Do not rent a car! If you take no other advice from me, please take this one. Driving means: contending with new lanes being made by other drivers, people turning from the wrong lane, motorcycles weaving in and out …and… also people running across the street in-between cars. It’s a mad house. In front of the apartment a man was struck by a motorcycle crossing the freeway. For the untrained Cairo driver, it’s a dangerous place.
Day one: The Egyptian Museum and Giza Pyramids
There are 120,000 artifacts displayed, you can literally be there all day and probably the next. Mo, my guide who’s a walking Ancient Egyptian encyclopedia, took me to the most important to see and we were there for a few hours. The information was a lot to take in, my eyes glazed over a couple of times, but the stories were really interesting. Of course, King Tut, the famous Boy King, was the highlight of displays. He died at 19 years old, after he crashed his chariot and developed gangrene. His personal property was lacking for a king, due to dying at the age of nineteen, so they took from relatives to fill up his tomb.
It’s hard to believe that the Nile River shores once reached this far.
The famous Sphinx with its missing nose. Apparently, the ruler Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr was jealous of people worshipping the statue and leaving gifts. So, off with it’s nose. The punishment for this act from the people, his life.
Here is the video I made for Egypt Trip Tours….
Part 3: Coptic Cairo
Okay, your turn….
Have you been to Cairo? Do you want to go, but you’re afraid for your safety?