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Cairo Museum Day

Yesterday, I went to the Cairo Museum which was a few blocks from the hostel. The museum is in a big imposing building in the middle of downtown, and appears to be like a museum of any city, except this one is famous for all of the sarcophagus , tombs, and mummies,

Walking in to the gateway of the museum, I went through a metal detector, and then to the courtyard. Here at the museum, you are besieged by guides who want you to hire them, for about 18 per hour. This is a losing proposition when alone-because 10 people can chip in and get the guide for the same price. But it was only me. I tried to reach out to others at the museum to see if they wanted an English speaking guide, but got no takers. I just wasn't interesting in paying someone by the hour.

I entered the museum, and one thing you realize is-a guide is needed. Thousands of artifacts which run together. I asked if a guard if there is a guidebook I can purchase-he said I can only hire a guide. After a while-I found an exit to the giftshop (like all museums), and did find a guidebook to purchase (it wasn't cheap-it was about $30,, but if was quite large and had pictures of everything) . I re-entered the museum. using the guidebook, which had a map, and diagrams of where everything was. I found some and couldn't find others-I went through the guidebook, beginning with the first part which was the 1st and 2nd dynasty.

After about 45 minutes, I burned out-I left the museum pissed off-because it seems like everyone wants money for everything. I went for lunch on the opposite side of the square to a Egyptian food place where the menu was in Arabic. (I asked about Falafel-and was able to get 2 and a bottled water for roughly $2.00). I took a nap on a bench near the government building on the opposite side of the square-and went back to the museum for a third time after I was in good and refreshed. This time I went straight to the mummy exhibit-which was fascinating. The skin and teeth we're still intact. I learned mummifying is a process of keeping the body preserved with some formula of salt and flour. All vital organs are removed, except for the heart (Which is the center of the body). To see skin and teeth from those dead for 500+ years is beyond cool.

After the section on mummies on the guidebook I purchased, there was a section on how to look at the museum if you have limited time-just focusing on the most renowned works. I went back downstairs to the start of the museum, just to look at the museum in this lens. this I found much more helpful, and looked at the relevant works. This was made more helpful by the fact that all of the English-speaking guides we're bringing their hires to these same works to talk about then, so I could piggyback on their conversations.

I actually stayed at the museum until I was kicked out at 5:00 pm-so I intend to return today.

Last night, I went on a 2 hour Nile river cruise-for $30-it includes unlimited buffet dinner, and a belly dancer. The food was good but I ate too much. It was a typical tourist trap-for a 3 hour cruise.

Then I went to bed-I have come down with a cold and light headaches, due to the combination of walking down the street and constantly being solicited services, Egyptian/Arabic music being blasted everywhere which sounds good to some I guess but sounds painful to me, and people smoking everywhere.

Posted by DavidPearlman 22:42 Archived in Egypt

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