29 April 2010

Brain Sandwich - Cairo, Egypt [Day Seven]

I woke feeling surprisingly rested, ready for our final day in Egypt. The train pulled into Cairo at about 8am, and we jumped on a bus to the hotel. No time to rest though, we dropped our gear then got back on the bus. Through the sea of cars, horns and random madness, we arrived at a perfumery. The old perfume dude there was so cool, really funny, and knew a ridiculous amount about perfume. This place didn't sell the perfume you can buy in stores, it is the essence that the manufacturers use as a base for their perfumes (they add alcohol and other things). So it was highly concentrated stuff. The girls were loving it, for me - the novelty wore off pretty quickly.

Smelling amazing, we left the perfumery and made our way to Khan el-Khalili, the main market in Cairo. It was similar to the market in Luxor, but I think a bit more 'tourist friendly'. People would still approach us all the time, but they wouldn't follow us down the road. It was a more relaxed, a less stressful experience. We quickly learned that if you want to buy anything you need a good 10 minutes to barter, no matter what it is. The whole process of haggling, going back and forwards, is fun for a while... But sometimes you just want to buy something and are willing to pay a fair price - you don't want to have to talk about it for 10 minutes.

I was surprised by the amazing things they had for sale - you expect the normal touristy crap, but some of the stuff was really cool. I wanted to pick up a couple of souvenirs, but wasn't really sure what... After wandering around for a while, I made my mind up - I decided to buy a shisha pipe. I found a HUGE one that I liked the look of, haggled with the guy for at least half an hour, walked away, came back, walked away again... In the end I got it for 100LE, which is about £12. Apparently I did very well! I also bought these cool pyramids.

Right beside the market there is a huge mosque. It is open for anyone to go in and take a look around. It was a beautiful building, huge, and had amazing detail.

We got a cab back to the hotel - a decent journey, taking maybe 15 - 20 minutes. It cost us a grand total of 11LE - about £1.50. I think its the first cab ride I have ever taken where I didn't feel ripped off.

Time for a quick shower, then I met up with our group in the restaurant - doing what they do best - smoking shisha. One of the guys working for the hotel came and smoked with us for a bit - check out the photo - priceless!

We decided to head out to find somewhere for a couple of drinks and some dinner. Turns out that you can't go out for a drink in Egypt - about the only place you could buy alcohol was the hotel. So we found a cool place for some dinner anyway. Feeling a bit adventurous - I ordered a brain sandwich. It was... different. I would probably compare it to eating a soft cheese.I managed to eat about half. Thankfully it came with chips.

So back to the hotel for a drink - one problem - the hotel had run out of beer! They kept telling us that it would be there in 10 minutes, but after half an hour we gave up. We made our way back to our room and chilled out for a bit. We ended up calling room service after about 15 minutes, and finding out they had managed to get beer - so had a whole lot delivered to our room. We just sat around talking, reminiscing about the trip, and dreading the return to real life.

After a while people slowly headed off to get some sleep. We said our final goodbyes and all promised to stay in touch.

I had a total of two hours sleep, before having to get up for the transfer to the airport. The return journey was uninteresting, managed to get a bit of sleep. After a massive week, an almost complete lack of sleep, tired and dirty, I just wanted to shower and get into bed. When I returned to my flat I didn't have any keys on me, and, just my luck, no one was home. To top it off my phone was flat. Awesome. So I lugged all my gear down to the local chicken place and managed to charge my phone for a bit. Couldn't get hold of anyone... Just as I walked out of the chicken place to head back to the flat, I saw one of them walking down the street. Phew!

So to describe Egypt in one word - indescribable. It was the best trip I have ever been on. Saw interesting, beautiful, amazing things, made so many cool new friends, danced, relaxed, ate, drank, smoked, learned a whole lot... My advice - just go.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...