Alice the camel has…ONE CHUMP!

*this blog was written on July 28*

We started the day going to the Citadel and Old Cairo.  The Citadel is a huge fortress on the outskirts of Cairo.  It was built by Saladin (the great Islamic leader who united Muslims against the Crusades) and has the huge and beautiful Mosque of Mohamed Ali.  The mosque was breathtaking!

In Old Cairo we checked out some Coptic Churches and an old Synagogue.  Coptic basically means Egyptian Christian. According to legend, the Holy Family hid in the basement of one of the Coptic Churches we visited when they fled after Jesus died.  The churches had round wooden tops (like Noah’s Ark), an upper chamber (women and men were separated at churches with the women in the upper chamber), 12 columns (for the apostles, with one different column standing for Judas), Coptic crosses (a cross with three points on each tip equalling 12 points), a wall separating the worshippers with the pulpit because it is a sacred place, and a variety of other designs featuring the numbers 3 (the Holy Trinity), 10 (the Commandments), and 12 (the Apostles).

In the afternoon we went to see the pyramids.  Oh wait, what I meant to say was, THE PYRAMIDS!!!  (nbd)  Although they were smaller than I imagined, they were more impressive than I could have dreamed.  The first is the tallest of the three.  The second may look taller but it is actually on a plateau above.  This is the only one that still has part of its gypsum limestone exterior (on the top).  The third is actually quite a bit shorter than the other two.  They were built by grandfather, father, and son (which is why each successive one had to be shorter).

After doing the cliché pictures-with-our-finger-on-the-top and taking some hilarious pictures on camels, we went under the middle pyramid.  There’s a shaft about four feet by four feet where you can walk the quarter-mile or so to the burial chamber.  Ok, so actually only I went into the pyramid…Julie took one look and was having none of it.  She says she’s claustrophobic but I think she’s just watched one too many episodes of Scooby Doo.  I didn’t want to try to force her to come down and risk her crying for her mummy.  Yeah, wasn’t going to leave that one un-puned.

On the way back to the van I found Julie in traditional Arab headscarf with a vendor hassling her.  “You got bamboozled” said I, forshadowingly sticking my foot in my mouth.  He put one on my head and I tried to stop  him saying, “I don’t want one and I’m not giving you any money.”  A guy with a kid on a camel came up and wanted me to get on.  Again:  “I’m not giving you any money and I don’t want to get on your camel.”  Before I knew it the guy picked me up, threw me on the camel, and it was walking off in the wrong direction.  WTF?!

Have  you ever been on a camel?  Every time they stand up or sit down you think you’re going to die.  When they start walking you think you’re going to die.  The way they smell makes you want to die.  Off he went riding away as I yelled at the kid to stop and Julie screamed at the guy.  At one point I was actually looking down wondering if I could jump down off the camel onto the rocks wearing flip-flops with a sprained ankle.  I decided I would fare better with the Bedouins and mentally prepared myself for life in the desert.  Incidentally, a good way of remembering the difference between “desert” and “dessert” is that you always want more dessert than desert and dessert has one more “s.”

Anyways, so the guy finally let me down.  Jerk.  Of course the guy started hassling me for money.  Julie had been snapping pictures of the whole thing in between yelling at the guy and he had a kid with him so I gave him $2.  I’ll own up to it:  it was I who got bamboozled.

We stopped at the Sphinx on the way out.  It was WAY smaller than I imagined.  I would have thought it would be fatter seeing as how there is a KFC / Pizza Hut directly in its site line about 100 yards away.  Did you know it was built from a big piece of stone that was leftover and unneeded after building the pyramids?  True story.  It asked me the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow but I ignored it.

By the time we got back to the hotel we had just enough time to grab some dinner (schwarma – Mmmmmmmmmmm!), pick up some wine (merlot – Mmmmmmmmmmm!), and make it to the train station (train food – grooooooooooosssss!).  We’re taking the night train to Luxor to check out the Valley of the Kings and all the temples for a couple of days.   We leave at 8pm and arrive at 5am.  Hooray!  This should be an interesting experience…

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3 Responses to “Alice the camel has…ONE CHUMP!”

  1. SO Cool and I am super jealous about seeing the pyramids! Post photos soon!

  2. That guy with the camel would have gotten away with more if it weren’t for you meddling kids.

  3. if you can imagine, adam’s storytelling doesn’t even do this justice! He was getting kidnapped by a gang of wild camels (and an Egyptian boy). It was insanity.


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