Exploring Cairo: day 1

From Siwa, let’s continue on my previous journey to Cairo.

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It’s true when people say, “You haven’t been to Egypt until you witness the Giza pyramids.” Haha, omg yes. I mean, if you ask every single tourists on why they come to Egypt, most will mention about the pyramids. Undeniably, the pyramids are one of the seven ancient wonders of the world and I’m impressed to how the Egyptians thousands years ago could build such pyramids.

There are a lot of theories on how the pyramids were built but let’s just assume that they were created by geniuses. Being able to go see them (alhamdulillah), it made feel thankful and amazed at the same time. I had fun but hey, Cairo isn’t just about the pyramids. There are a lot of other interesting places as well that you might want to visit. And trust me, Cairo is abundant with history and cultures.

The journey from Alexandria to Cairo took us around 3 and a half hours via highway. We departed in the morning and arrived around afternoon at our motel. I was excited catching a glimpse of the pyramids upon arriving in Cairo!! Finally, I’m here. Obviously, our first destination was the Giza pyramids so after lunch we went there with our guide. He’s Ustaz Yusof, an Indonesian currently studying in Al-Azhar and at the same time runs a tour service in Cairo. Very kind and patient in waiting. And yes, he’s very good in taking pictures. Talented, I must say.

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Hello pyramid yuhuuuu

After the security check blablabla, we walked a bit to the first pyramid. Fun facts, there are 3 major pyramids (the large ones) in total in Giza. Real reason behind the pyramids? They serve as tombs for the pharaohs and their queens. Additional fees if you want to see the tombs in the pyramid.

As usual, many locals approached us and offered to take our pictures and some of them sell souvenirs around the pyramids. Btw, one tips here, if you do not plan to buy anything, avoid making eye contact and also do not show any rejection to them. Whatever they tell/do, just ignore them and walk away. They are very experienced and it’s ok to not buy, okay?

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First stop – Khufu pyramid or the Great Pyramid

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As small as it looks, the area is very wide and it’s in the middle of desert.

It got pretty windy there and you would want to bring your sunnies with you. Thankfully, the sun was up so that made the wind bearable. We began our walk to the first pyramid, Khufu pyramid. When I tried to climb those rocks (whatever you call them) of the pyramids, I never thought that it could be that high. Imagine the rocks at the base, it was my height wowwwww. How on earth did Egyptians build this? It’s something unimaginable to think of and at the same time, mind blowing. What an empire..

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hiiii there

Ustaz Yusof is a nice guy haha. He knew that we all wanted to take pictures first, so he called us to line up infront of him and we then gave him our phones for him to take the photos. Quickly, he said, “baik, kalian sudah di sini, jadi saya bakal ceritakan sedikit tentang pyramid ini..” Nice trick there, Ustaz. Haha, I love his explanations because there were a lot to learn about the ancient pyramids especially from the perspective of Islam. He told us about the structure of the pyramids itself and how there were cracks everywhere on the floor due to an earthquake a long time ago. Ask him anything and he’ll be glad to answer. Btw, from the pyramids, you can enjoy the beautiful Cairo skyline, especially the blue sky 😀

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p/s: we were told that ages ago, actually the pyramids were nearby the Nile River and those wide compound you see above were actually a part of the Nile River!

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The pyramid tour didn’t just simply end there. We went to another spot which is the most ideal place to take cool pictures. Not just say-cheese kind of pictures, but those multiple-styles pictures 😉 You can either look as if you’re kicking the pyramid, or leaning against it, or even holding the pyramid. We had lots of fun there and after done with the ‘photoshoot’, we headed to the Sphinx, the statue of a mythical creature with the face of a human and the body of a lion. Sounds creepy.

behind the scenes of us dealing with the strong wind..obviously, no such thing as perfect group jump photos XD

The Sphinx is about 4500 years old btw!! And it was made from a single mass of limestone and surprisingly, no records about it being mentioned in any Egyptian history. People don’t even know its real name.

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the section where the artists illustrate their arts on the papyrus papers to be displayed/sold

After visiting the Sphinx, we left the area around 5-ish since night was so near. We dropped by a shop selling fragrances and essences by Egyptians (rumors are the business is owned by Dodi Al-Fayed’s family, read: Princess Diana) and then proceeded to a papyrus museum. If papyrus rings a bell for you, papyrus is a type of paper produced by Egyptians from the papyrus plant. Inside the museum, we got to see how exactly they transform a pile of papyrus piths into writable papers. It’s not the same as the usual pulps we all know in making normal papers, and the papyrus in fact is durable too. Brilliant inventions!

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Papyrus paper!

We spent 30 minutes inside the museum and then headed to the Nile River cruise. Woohoo!!! I’m so excited seeing the Nile River for everyone in Egypt relies on the river for their daily source of water. Trust me, you can even taste the river water from the local tap water. Ermm, payau.

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panoramic view of the upper deck of the cruise where we waited for our dinner to be ready

We arrived at the Nile River Cruise at 7-ish and dinner wasn’t ready at that time. Locals even flock that place to have birthday or wedding celebrations. Their celebrations are lit guys!! Never knew Egyptians love to party and dance hahhaha. Around 8.30, finally we got to have our dinner and also enjoy the nightview of Nile River. The atmosphere was pretty havoc since locals at another table made a birthday surprise for their family members and with them clapping and singing, everybody inside the dining area cheered for them *points to myself*. LOL. They played Arabic songs and they are pretty catchy too! I bet the most ‘exciting’ part would be the belly dance performance. Shizzzzzzzzzz, I shouldn’t be watching the woman dancing omg…..I never thought that the belly dancer could be that sexy and the crowd was pretty much cheering on her haha. I guess belly dance is pretty common in Arabic/Egyptian culture and everyone’s used to watching it. But definitely, it was an experience.

 

Up next, the Sufi performances. That was the bomb for me cuz it looked so amazing in the dark. Those colours on the Sufi dancer’s outfit were beautiful in pictures. He pretty much spinned for 10 times if I’m not wrong.

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Love how my phone camera brilliantly captured these photos!

We spent a total time of 2 hours on the cruise and alhamdulillah, I’m satisfied with the meal, the entertainment and the view of the Nile River itself :””) We took a lot of pictures and we finally called it a day.

Next day’s plan – streets of Cairo and New Year Eve!!

 

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