Day 14: The Fabulous Bazaars of Cairo

Day 14: Thursday, 30 April 2020 – Cairo, Egypt (30.0444° N, 31.2357° E) (5,537 Covid-19 cases & 392 deaths as of today for Egypt)

Egypt. Love it, hate it. First time I visited it in the 80’s it was four days of absolute unmitigated madness: Ethnic costume dementia. Two am train fires. Stranded in the desert. Hitchhiking. Crypt break-ins. Too much Stella. Water skiing in the Nile…And then things really broke down! The several visits since have normalized Egypt for me–my kids in tow–but Egypt is Egypt; it has not really changed in 5,000 years frankly: You got the new boss and everyone else; same backdrops, same hues, same culture, same food, I imagine. Maybe not?

Anyway, Egypt is a dream come true for most people: the Egyptian Museum, lazy feluccas on the Nile, the Suez canal, genuine hospitality, hummus, Khan el-Khalili, desert oases, Alexandria’s bibliotheca …oh yea, almost forgot: Giza, Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Luxor, Abu Simbel, Saqqara, Djoser, Hatshepsut… Time in Egypt always proves too busy. (So, just wondering here now, not to pooh-pooh how lucky I am in any way–I do know it!–but how many times can you visit so-called “world wonders” like the pyramids? Is it once just to see it, Bucket List-style? Twice to get know it deeper? Three times to share it with a significant other? Fourth time to let your kids experience it? Fifth time because it’s just business? Sixth time because you are glutton for punishment? Seven times because you don’t subscribe to that old madness adage about doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Seven times… How many times? Please chime in here and help me out!)

We have a few Egyptian memories to share today: The first comes from Michael & Nita (aka Captain Marvel & Pi Baby), who were signed up to take our 2001 adventure, scheduled for October 2001 (alas 9/11 forced us to reschedule!), and eventually took our inaugural adventure back in the spring of 2002, but have come with us a few times after that too.

“Our most memorable time on “The Hunt“, and there have been so many in all of the four times that we have joined you. For me it’s no contest, our trip to Cairo and the Great Pyramid of Giza. I can’t remember if it was 2002 or 2004 (it was 2002) when we went to Cairo. We took a taxi from the Cairo Museum to our hotel and ask the driver about the Pyramids, he told us that he could take us there. (Of course he did!) We made an appointment for the next day to have him drive us there. He said that we should get there early to avoid the crowd so we agreed to meet at 7:00 am the next day. When we arrived at the location he told us that we could enter the Pyramid and go all the way to the burial chamber, the only thing is we couldn’t take a camera inside. He wouldn’t go in with us because it’s a long walk and the tunnel is only about four feet high. I’m 6’2″ and it was very uncomfortable for me to walk all bent over for that length of time. It took about fifteen minutes to get to the burial chamber but it was worth it. The chamber was maybe 30 by 40 feet and 40 feet high with a rectangular hole about 6′ by 10′ in the floor where the sarcophagus was found. You can use your imagination as to what our feelings were at being in the very place that is so full of history. It will stay with me for my whole life as being one of my most unforgettable moments. We feel very lucky to have found a way to do this as it was not on our list of scavenges.”

Captain Marvel & Pi Baby

Another Egypt memory comes from Andy, who joined the world travel championship travel adventure in 2008.

“One of the many fantastic things that standout in my mind about The Global Scavenger Hunt is my morning in Cairo out by the pyramids. I was up early having just arrived the night before from Singapore. I went down for breakfast in the Mena House hotel which is a former royal hunting lodge and then went out to explore. A lot of people are not aware that there is a golf course at the pyramids. I walked by and stopped in out of curiosity. And yes. I played. And to this day I have a great photo of me holding a putter on a green with the pyramids in the background.”

The 2008 tribe gather moss…

A personal memory…Lucca presenting Pamela
with a mom bouquet outside our hotel room

Love getting man on the street conversations going…true
exchanges of ideas.

The story here was we all had to wait a good 15-minutes until all our luggage, checked bags and larger ones, arrived in one spot. Now the transfer to the bus…but, this being Egypt, that takes another person; a one man pyramid builder then began stacking all the bags together–35 travelers worth–onto but one single cart…and he, eventually, did it too. It was precarious sight to behold. Can you say bagsheesh!

The story here in 2005 was Pamela took the gals out for a night of Nile River revelry on a dinner cruise. Food was eaten. Drinks were had. Fun ensued. The show began and the belly dancing part of the night started. Any volunteers? Yes, Pamela of course. (She loves to dance, thankfully.) And so she does…but the audience stops clapping along, grows silent with mouth gapingly aghast. Why? Because Pamela is showing the world that she is in fact 6-months pregnant with Lucca and shimming like a…Cleopatra.

We have one more Middle Eastern destination to visit when we stop in Jordan tomorrow.

Stay safe and well. Till tomorrow…

Please send any memories you want us to post to ringmaster (at) globalscavengerhunt (dot) com