Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Egypt, Day 3

The next morning, we’d kind of worked ourselves into a routine. Breakfast around 7:00, leave to be tourists around 8:30 or 9:00. I never really realized how much longer things take when you have children. I think I can appreciate how tired parents get now. And while 7:00 may seem early (gulp!)— especially for vacation!—it was perfect because it was 9:00 Abu Dhabi time. I don’t think my body could handle many more time changes, so it was great. And we’d go to bed around 9:00 at night after being so tired…wow, I am rambling!

Ok, so day three we decided to get a guide for the morning to go see City of the Dead and Coptic Cairo. These are new terms for me, too, so I’ll try to explain. City of the Dead is Cairo’s way of doing a cemetery. It’s a whole bunch of rundown-looking buildings where people are entombed. And poor people live there; I guess there’s some shadiness as to the legality of it, but they make it work, even with satellite dishes on top of their “homes.” The guide pointed that out to us. She wouldn’t let us go into the City of the Dead because apparently it wasn’t safe for Americans. Um…ok…well, better safe than sorry, right? Sure.
The Coptic part of the city was the part that was founded by the Christians before Islam became the predominant religion in Egypt. There was this really neat church with no foundation that they call the Hanging Church. The guide was telling us that it’s more than 1700 years old. There were some neat architectural elements; some of my favorites were the wood and mother-of-pearl inlays. They were so intricate and beautiful.

The next part of my narrative is quite hilarious and somewhat disturbing all at the same time…and for so many reasons! We had a couple hours to spare with the guide. We wanted her to take us to find fabric, but she said the market we wanted to browse was not safe. She ended up taking us to a perfumery that was government-regulated (i.e., safe for Americans…for goodness’ sake, people!). We sat down around a little table and had drinks (this is where I fell in love with tamarin juice…I was skeptical at first, but the flavor is amazing) and the man there told us stories about some of the different scents and how they are used. Avery played in the coffee grounds that were supposed to be used to clear your nasal passages between smellings. They also had little glass perfume bottles. There was one scent that all the tourists bought…it was called “Secret of the Desert” and it supposedly drives men wild. Stories have it that women wear it on their wedding night. We all started joking about how Laura would use some but that I wasn’t allowed. This brings out the questions of “why aren’t you married?” (yep, even on vacation I can’t get away from it!), so I tell them it’s fine. The Egyptian man who was showing us everything asked if he could marry me. He had already been talking to us about his baby and wife, so Laura told him I didn’t want to be a second wife. Yeah, no joke! This man was kind of freaking me out by how much he persisted, too. He followed me to where I paid for the stuff I bought and started trying to hook me up with the kid at the register. The kid looked at me and said, “I think I need a wife who is…smaller.” WHAT?! Yeah, what he really meant was younger, but for a minute, it threw me for a loop! After we had finally made it out of there, we were ready for lunch and a break. I had about five different oils on my skin, and I left smelling like an old woman, a man, and a bunch of different flowers, all at once.

We headed back to the hotel and I read my book while Laura took a nap and the boys watched Ratatouille…again. :) (hey, it kept them happy!) Then we braved the afternoon. Jameson had seen a bunch of horse carts around town and kept asking his mom about them, wanting to ride in one of them. They made me a little skeptical…kind of rickety. Laura is brave, and she worked a price to get the four of us (Laura, the boys, and me) up to the shopping parts of town. Jameson was in heaven as he waved like he was in a parade and sang “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain.” Oh, it was hilarious! And Avery was so tired that he fell asleep.

After making it up to the shopping district, we wanted to find some Egyptian-made things to buy. Laura was looking for a copper pot, and I didn’t quite know what I wanted (story of my life on this trip…why am I a picky souvenir buyer? No one can solve that mystery, unfortunately. Maybe a therapist…). We didn’t have much luck, and before we knew it, it was time for us to meet Matt at the Embassy to go to dinner. So we hiked back down the island and met him, only to find out that he wanted to hike back up to close where we had come from to eat. It was on a restaurant boat on the Nile called Le Pacha. We made it there (barely!) and I got to try some more Egyptian food, namely koshari—a spiced rice and pasta dish. It tasted really good! And I tried some pigeon…it’s supposedly packed with energy-supplementing vitamins and nutrients. Egyptian legend has it that newlywed couples eat pigeon the day after their wedding night to replenish their energy. I can’t make this stuff up!

The rest of the night was fairly quiet, except for the fact that the Whittons found out where they’d next be stationed in their travels abroad required for Matt’s career. Drum roll, please…..the answer is: Tashkent, Uzbekistan! Matt gets to learn Russian or Uzbek before they go. Should be a very interesting time in their lives! We’ll see if I get up the guts to go visit them there.


Blogger Adrianne Miller said...

Pigeon huh ..... if only I knew this 4 months ago!!!

March 27, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Blogger Erika said...

Am I going to comment on every day? Yes I think I am... so that guy hitting on you--hilarious. You and him could have shared some wonderful pigeon together! ha ha, that is one fact I will remember and spread to all who will listen, methinks.

March 31, 2008 at 10:58 PM


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