Sonntag, 18. Januar 2009

Since we are planning to leave Cairo tomorrow after a week here I want to tell you what Rachid and me did here. All in all it was a very nice week, as rachid yesterday said, every day something very special happened - be it some interesting tourisic site or a nice evening with some people we got to know here. But I'll start from the beginning...
After the first day which we spent just walking through the streets, letting this town get into our minds, we spent the next day with one of the guys I met on the Gebel Musa trip in the old Islamic part of Cairo, walking down the streets, looking into some shops, drinking tea... We went into the Mosque al-Azhar, which unfortunately wasn't that impressing as I imagined - maybe also because I prefer the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. Still it was good to see this very important Mosque. After we went through the small streets of Khan el-Khalili, the market here. It is in some parts very touristic but it"s also very easy to lkeave these touristic paths to walk through the places where locals buy everything they need for their daily life. Afterwards we took a taxi to drive to the park al-Azhar, which lies on a hill - very good idea to see the sunset over the whole town. Unfortunately the smog is that bad that the sun sometimes just disappears behind it for a while, but still it was a quite a great spectacle. Especially when it was then time for the sunset-prayer and the muezzin startet to sing the call for prayer from every Mosque around. In fact Cairo seems to be a very religious town, I didn't expect that in such an intense way. Everywhere around - no matter where you go - you hear all day long from Mosques or from shops, cars etc recitings of the Koran. Also interesting is it to realize that there is a certain "africanity" here - I can't really describe it but it doesn't feel like only being in an arab country but as well in an african country (at least I think so). Wednesday evening we spent with the guy from Gebel Musa and a Canadian (which is on the same trip as I just up to Istanbul to start working there as well) in a bar called Hurreyya, which means freedom. The name ois in fact proramm as they sell cheap beer there (thanks Matthias for the advise!). On Thursday the 15. we went to see the Pyramides. Well, difficult to explain what I think about it - but I was much more impressed by the Pyramides in Mexico, although it is of course somehow a "Must" to see them. Interesting but nothing more. Maybe also because I know so few about this time in history... In the evening we went with the Canadian, his name is Brendan, to a Shisha bar, drank tea and watched everything around us. On friday we decided it was time to see the egyptian museum. Very impressing are the mummies you can see there, still wrapped in. Also interesting was the treasure of Tutenchamun - seeing it, all the gold and jeweleries, you could imagine how much must have gone lost through tomb-robbers. Friday we also got to know a french girl who is at times travellling together with a canadian-french couple who are already on the road since three years. With them and Brendan we spent the evening on the terrasse of our new hostel, to which we changed on thursday, because the other one was too expensive (best idea ever, the new one is just perfect with its wonderful terrasse on top of the building, just in front of the door when you step out of your room). Of course the travel-couple haas to tell a lot of interesting stories, also Audrey, the french girl, so we spent a nice evening talking about a lot of different things. Next afternoon (getting up early becomes different after spending a night with Audrey, Paco and dennis) we decided to go to Mogamma, some administrative building to get new Visa. In fact they told us that we dont need to have new ones ( I didn't really understand why, but I hope this guy knows what he tells us). Later we visited the koptic quarter of Cairo, went into some churches, listened to their prayers and walked through the streets. It is interesting to see this quarter because it seems to be very different than the rest of Cairo, much more quiet. Then the evening yesterday we went together with Audrey, the french girl, Dennis and Paco, the travelling couple, to an old Khan (Karawanserei), which was restaurated in a very nice way. There, a group of about 20 men performed a Sufi music and Darwish dance show, which was just impressing. I very much enjoyed the music, although it was still a little bit too touristic. But half of the guests for the show at least where egyptians - so still ok in a way. Rachid was very much moved by the show which was funny to see. Afterwards we went through some more hidden side streets of Khan el Khalili, the market, stopped to drink tea and got after a beer at Hurreyya home around three o'clock, incredibly tired after this day.
So today we try to get a train ticket to Luxor, want to walk again through the market because we discovered yesterday night some interesting places we want to see at daylight - and I'm pretty sure spend the evening with Audrey, Paco and Dennis.
Hope you are all doing fine, thanks for news from Mirja, Judith, and Muli.

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