Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Egypt in transit!

3rd and 4th June 2012

Once we landed we had to wait for them to finish the forms and transit stuff which look a friggin 1.5 hours!! During that time I took out my sketchbook and tried to inconspiciously sketch all the wonderful people with all their shapes, sizes, hair colours and styles, clothing and gestures.

Egypt Air sucks. They keep you on transit for hours, they're not punctual, they're not organized, and the lost and found is useless. If you've got a choice to halt somewhere, let it be Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

This was how our hotel room looked. Pretty cosy huh? It was called the Baron Hotel as it was right in front of the Baron Building, which if I'm not mistaken is the parliament or some political structure.

The amazing looking breads on the breakfast table, though I was too full to try all of them!!

I know, right?? *drool*

Customized mushroom cheese omelette.

Our driver - he was a really nice chap. He didn't know English, but Sherif was there to translate thigns for us. The first night after the sound and light show he invited us to his home for his son's coming-of-age party! Unfortunately we were too tired to go, but it was a really nice gesture.

We've seen this sort of thing in Ahmedabad.

funny architecture ain't it?

Loved capturing these locals on bikes, selling stuff, walking and talking, smoking hookah, training horses, sleeping in trams!

Mundane activities in Cairo. In Egypt they mainly travel in these tram-bus like thingies. They take upto ten people and cost about 2 egyptian pounds for a ride (20 rupees)

Sherif introduced Cairo to us in a funny way. He said there's one really interesting thing about Cairo that you will never forget - 'The traffic'. We laughed. Obviously he'd never been to India! ;)

Lotta palm trees on the way to the Pyramids. we were now in Giza.

These Egyptians do like their hookah.

Cute camel bums!

My family with Sherif, our guide. Sherif was very friendly and cheerful - he must have been around 26, and he knew practically everything about the ancient Egyptians and their stories.
Why am I looking so excited? Because I'm in Egypt!! I've dreamed of visiting this country all my life, and here I was, even if only for a day!

I'm making Raina do touristy things. First I make her do this, then I make her look fat, and then I upload and tag her!! She's gonna disown me.

LOL!! This Papyrus fellow was hilarious! He's asking if we want our family name written on Kartouch├ęs and Hieroglyphics on a papyrus scroll.

LOL!!!! Bilu acting like she's shy, although she sucks at it!!! So glad I caught this on camera. Makes me smile everytime!!!

Bil+Loni make a Billoni. :|

This snap has a story behind it. On day one of our trip, Egypt Air lost Mumma's glasses and she was feeling very blind and handicapped and she couldn't take photos. When I gave her the canon and showed her that she could adjust the number in the viewfinder, she was AMAZED. This is how she looked when holding the camera.

We had a lot of private jokes that day.

The sphinx!! How I was dying to see it up close. That would have to wait for tomorrow. It's actually the head of the Pharoah Khufu (to whom the greater pyramid belongs)

The sound and light show was great - it highlights the story of king Ceops - to whom the biggest Pyramid belongs to, and his sons, wife and daughters, to whom the other pyramids belong. It also told us how they were made at the time. It showed the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Ceops in greek), the Pyramid of Khafre (elder son of Khufu) and the Pyramid of Menkaure (younger son of Khufu).

In this snap I could just about fit in all the 3 Pyramids of Giza!

Great Pyramid of Khufu (Ceops in greek)

The food we had at Baron Hotel that night

It was yum! For the first time in my life I tasted Sushi, and I wasn't in Japan! (it tasted disgusting) Besides that everything else was absolutely delicious. As a staple diet, Egyptians generally eat meat with a little bit of rice.

The walls were initially made of camel dung and then with the casing stone.

Way to the Pyramids.

Second pyramid with a little casing stone remaining on it. Originally they were all covered by it but in time it wore off, exposing the stones under it.

Desert Sands!

Here's a helpful tip about Egyptians - they are inborn conmen! They trick you and needlessly beg for tips. At the pyramids the camel riders begged you to take a photo of them (Pls take photo, I say cheese) and then asked for money for the photo, even if you're not even in it. They sell you artifacts worth 5 Egyptian Pounds for 25 Pounds! So don't trust anyone about their prices! Be firm, and say no. Walk awayyy......

I walked away, he walked away.

When you look at them from afar they really don't look that big; probably as tall as a ordinary skyscraper - but they're HUGE when you come close! The largest one was made of 3 million slabs of rock, and each weighs about 3-5 tonnes. It took 300 men to move each slab at the time, and the first pyramid of king Kiosk took 20 years to complete with the workers working for 3 months in a year.

Did anybody notice the top of the pyramid? does it look anywhere close? And all this to just house ONE mummy and his belongings!!!

This is what the Egyptian boats were parked in! They carried the slabs weighing a tonne each from across the Nile to the desert.

Camel droppings!! They look like rotten Jamuns.

Haha!! At first mumma refused to climb on to take the camel ride, but after a lot of persuation she came with us! :D

'ssup y'all?

Munch munch.

From there we went to the papyrus making place where we saw how the ancient Egyptians made papyrus. It's kinda like Sugarcane, but it has a triangular stem. The inside of this stem is sliced in strips and soaked in water for 6 days, after which it is pressed and dried. The paper is immortal! It's strong, it doesn't tear, and it's flexible.

The guide there explained how papyrus is made. The outside bark is sliced off, and then strips are cut from the inside and soaked in water for a few hours. After that they're pressed under a pressing machine and dried for 6 days. After drying they are arranged in horizontal and vertical strips alternately, giving the paper its strength.

The guide explaining the most important piece in Egyptian History, the last judgement. When a king was to go to the afterlife, his heart was weighed alongside a feather. There was a creature placed between the man an Osirus (god of the underworld). If the heart weighed more than the feather, it was assumed guilty and the creature would devour it, leaving the soul of the king lost and wandering. If the feather weighed more, the creature would point to Osirus and the Pharaoh's soul would reach Heaven.

My family listening with 'Constant Vigilance!!!' or rather - rapt attention.

The papyrus plant.

The salesman there was very persuasive on making us buy one of the paintings, but they looked nowhere as beautiful as the originals where they'd used natural dyes instead of the metallic paints we saw. After a lot of debate we bought two empty sheets.


  1. oh my god thats such a humungous post! please dont do that ! there are so many awesome snaps just break it up into a few posts!

    Love the camel bums! love how your whole journey is covered n still the photos are crazy good! some are truly grand n insane like the opening aairport pic.Love the food! wanna wat now :( n i just had breakfast !
    Even the papyrus scrolls look mad!

    1. Sorry!! :P I'll try to break it down. :P!