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Day Seven: Cairo, Egypt

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007

Dave!I don't know whether to feel lucky or unlucky... but the weather here in Cairo is cool and overcast. This could be considered lucky when the alternative would be scorching 100-degree temperatures... but kind of strange that this rare weather event should happen while I'm in town. Oh well, here I am in Egypt. A visit to the pyramids is set for tomorrow, and the weather could do anything before then.

The ship actually makes port in the city of Alexandria, so there's a 3-hour bus drive across the West Desert before reaching Cairo. Our first stop in the city was to the Alabaster Mosque, otherwise known as the Mosque of Muhammad Ali (who is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt). The building itself is quite beautiful with its alabaster forecourt, even when overrun with tourists...

Alabaster Mosque

The Ottoman architecture is pretty sweet, and meticulously maintained...

Alabaster Mosque

Islamic mosques are built solely for prayer, are devoid of any clutter, and have no statues or imagery (both of which are forbidden). This way the worshiper may concentrate on their prayers without distraction. This is not to say that the interior is boring... far from it... the walls are adorned with cool geometric designs, and the ceiling is as beautiful and ornate as any church...

Alabaster Mosque Ceiling

After we left the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, it was onward to the Egypt Museum...

Egypt Museum

I have seen Tutankhamen exhibits many times over the years (the latest was just five months ago in Chicago), but the one time I saw the famous death mask in the 1970's, I was too young to remember it. And, since the Egyptian government has forbidden the mask to leave the country since the early 80's, the only way I was ever going to see it was to visit it here in Cairo. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures in the museum, but finally seeing the mask in person after having seen it a million times in photos pretty much made the entire trip worthwhile.

The tour group was then given free time to freshen up and relax but, knowing there was a Hard Rock Cafe in the city, there was no way I was going to waste time relaxing! The cafe itself is in the lower level arcade of the Grand Hyatt hotel, located on the banks of the Nile. From the outside, it's nothing really special...

Hard Rock Cairo

But the inside is fantastic, with high energy, lots of memorabilia, and an enthusiastic staff (who were all on stage dancing when I visited the dining room). The highlight of the property for me was this incredible mosaic artwork behind the bar featuring landmarks from around the globe...

Hard Rock Cairo

Alas, there wasn't time to eat a veggie burger and have a chocolate shake, but I DID manage to get a really nice Hard Rock pin set (at last!) and a T-shirt.

And now as I sit here on my hotel balcony overlooking the city, with the Great Pyramids off in the distance, I must sign off because it's time for a dinner cruise on the Nile with 340 of my closest friends...


Categories: Hard Rock 2007, Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Dave2 says:

    Internet is really sporadic, so I don’t know what’s going on with the comments. I’ve rebuilt everything, so maybe they’re working now?

  2. Laurence says:

    Amazing !

    It is beautiful ! (I know that my comment is useless…) :-)

  3. CiCi says:

    Boy, do I envy you! Like you I saw Tut in the 70’s and don’t remember as much as I’d like to. Actually what I remember the most is standing in line – for hours – waiting to get in, then being overwhelmed by the beauty of the relics. I was planning a trip to see them with my grandmother, since we saw Tut together, but then she became ill and died, so the trip never came off.

    How were you treated as an American? That’s what worries me now about making plans to travel in that region of the globe.

    PS – eat an ice cream cone for me!

  4. Avitable says:

    That’s a cool looking Hard Rock. I’ve been trying to suggest that my wife not travel to Egypt because of anti-American sentiments. Have you seen any of that?

  5. claire says:

    I’m envious. Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum- so cool. I plan to hit the King Tut exhibit sometime while it’s in Philly, but going to Egypt… that’s the dream.

    Road tripping alone across the US, I’ve done, but I don’t quite have the guts to travel alone abroad (yet). My college offers group tours, but Egypt is always a cruise down the Nile (cool in theory, but I don’t want to spend my dream trip seasick).

    Are you going to any other places in Egypt? The Luxor/Thebes area looks cool from everything I’ve read. Deir el Bahri, Temple of Karnak, Valley of the Kings-those would be on my list. And Abu Simbel further south.

    Really looking forward to your next pics. Ride a camel for me. ;)

  6. Kristin says:

    Dear Dave,

    You’re having a great time, wish I was there.

    Kristin

  7. sizzle says:

    that mosaic IS awesome. wow.

  8. are you a vegetarian? (due to the veggie burger comment) because if not, it seems strange that anyone who likes meat, would opt for on while in Cairo. Unless of course, it is your only option other than camel.

    Are you going to Turkey? I have a friend building a museum in Turkey. You should go see it. Totally random.

  9. NYC Watchdog says:

    Wow… Death Mask AND Hard Rock in the same day?

    I’m surprised you didn’t have an aneurysm from all the excitement!

    I know I probably would have.

  10. Stephanie P says:

    I hope you brought some sunscreen!

  11. RW says:

    …or nobody has anything to say?

    Just kidding!!

    Alcohol in Egypt… it just feels… I dunno… dangerous for you.

  12. Michael says:

    Hopefully they’re working now.

    Anyway, I’d love to go to Egypt someday, but maybe it’s best you didn’t eat anything there. Perhaps the HR is different because of it’s American ownership, but I know that almost everybody from my school who went on a trip to Egypt a couple years ended up getting sick by the end of the trip because of the food. The last thing you needed was to end up kneeling over the can, whilst on a rocking boat no less.

  13. Randy says:

    What an amazing trip! Grrrrreat pics! Can’t really think of anything more to say…Oh, I know, any Apple stores in Cairo?

  14. Patty says:

    Egypt looks beautiful! I’ve never been there but my mom has so some some of her pics. I have seen the king tut exhibit a long time ago in Seattle. Would be nice to see it again.

  15. birdie2u says:

    Pictures from Egypt? And not one includes Zahi Hawass? I’m astonished! He’s managed to appear in every other shoot I’ve seen. Hmm, he’ll probably catch up with you near the plateau. Yeah, that’s gotta be it….

  16. suze says:

    I’m loving the virtual journey with you. I’ve never been but have always wanted to go to Greece and Egypt. Enjoy the pyramids!

  17. Lisa says:

    Oh, I’m so jealous you’re seeing Cairo!! There are two places I haven’t had a chance to travel to yet that are top of my list – Egypt and Australia.

  18. Bre says:

    Sigh. I’m still quite jealous.

  19. Wow! That’s really a heck of a trip Dave. I didn’t realize you were hitting Egypt too.

    Great photos!

    I thought they were closing that museum and moving it all to a new one last fall. There was some super-sized one that they were building, at least that’s what I heard.

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