These were some of the temples I visited around Egypt. Students get a 50% discount with a non-expired ID card and Egyptians basically pay nothing
More people speak English than I had anticipated
Anytime we talked to Egyptians about politics, especially their current leader, Sisi, they would look around to make sure no one could hear them and then tell me not to tell anyone what they said. Things are a bit sensitive right now
Religion has a pretty prominent role in day to day life. Mosques kick off with prayers five times a day, lots of restaurants don’t serve alcohol (beer can be bought at some street shops or a designated alcohol store called Drinkies) and lots of women, especially in Cairo, wear burkas or hijabs
People smoke shisha at all hours of the day
Egyptians were super helpful, but always seemed to ask for “a tip, a tip” whenever they had done something, like point me in the direction of a gym
The Egyptian pound is the country’s official currency, but lots of places accepted dollars or euros
Taxis don’t use meters, so it can be a battle trying to negotiate the price once you’ve arrived
From talking to people, and seeing it in public, there are a lot more Egyptian men with foreign women compared to the opposite
Traffic lanes physically exist, but no one abides by them. Traffic in Cairo was insane
Compared with SE Asia, the tourism industry seems to have a good mix of Egyptians as well as foreigners. On several tours, there were Egyptians going around with us as tourists, which is something you don’t really see somewhere like Thailand
I couldn’t find pork anywhere and on top of that, lots of staple dishes were vegetarian. Falafel is amazing, so I didn’t mind, but some days I’d go 24 hours without eating meat, which is something that rarely happens in Beijing
Fly into Cairo. Two days. See temples first day. Meet a group of Tunisians and spend an hour trying to find a bar that allows women. Jet lag hits and I’m done by 10pm. Pyramids and Sphinx the next day. Rode a horse at pyramids, deal with sore groin that evening. Head to train station to take night train to Luxor. It’s legit 10°C onboard which is nice for about five minutes. T-shirts were used to cover legs. Seats reclined a lot less than expected. Arrive in Luxor in the morning. Board cruise ship. Spend four days, three nights on boat, stopping along different places to see temples and end in Aswan. Cruise is mostly couples and old people but there’s a pool on the upper deck, and food is legit. Spend last day in Aswan touring city, finding a gym, and drinking the leftover beer we brought on the ship to avoid the high prices. Take night train at 6pm back to Cairo. Will remember to get a bed and not a “reclining” seat next time. Arrive at 6am next day. Go to gym, eat lunch, buy souvenirs, and read books until heading to airport for 3pm flight to Sharm El-Sheikh. Shawarma and felafel have been the backbone of this trip so far. It’s an hour flight, but it beats the 8-hour overnight bus. Check in to hotel, jump into ocean, and grab dinner. Spend the next four days on a beach. Snorkeling. Pina coladas. Falafel. Karaoke. Catch bus at 9am back to Cairo. Supposed to be an eight-hour trip. Get stuck at Suez Canal for four hours. It’s hot. Make it back to Cairo at 10pm, get falafel and shawarma, in bed by 11pm. Gym the next morning then catch our flights to Istanbul and Beijing. Egypt is awesome and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to break into the Arab world.
Dahab is a small town on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab is now considered to be one of Sinai's most treasured diving destinations.
Went snorkeling in a place called Blue Hole - nicknamed "The World's Most Dangerous Diving Site. The dive site is reputed to have the highest diver fatality rate for any dive site in the world.
Cigarette smoke swirls through the air of the predominantly male-dominated streets as women in colorful burkas pass by, leaving only a trace of perfume to remember them by. It’s busy, loud, full of smells, and hot. Welcome to the Arab world.
Egypt has been completely different compared to my travels through SE Asia. I wasn’t sure what to expect and in some regards, that has proven to be exciting. In others, not so much. I knew it was going to be hot, I knew it was going to be busy (Cairo is a city of 25 million) and I knew that the amount of Muslims living here would mean that alcohol/bars would be a challenge - which it has proved to be.
Conversely, I didn’t expect everyone to be so friendly. Sure, the Egyptian helping hand also remains wide open asking for “a tip my friend”, but in general, people are super polite and willing to help me out, especially in my daily pursuit of a gym. Maybe it’s due to the large tourism industry but a lot of people speak English - a surprising amount.
So far, Egypt has been a whirlwind of good food, rich history, and a mix of different cultures all surviving the heat together. I’m headed back to Cairo tomorrow where I’ll catch a flight to a city near Dahab, which has great beaches. WiFi has been spotty, so I bought a SIM card with limited data. I’ll do my best to update my site when possible, but for anyone reading this, know that I’m still alive, albeit a bit sunburned. The sun here is no joke.
The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple in the town of Kom Ombo in Aswan Governorate, Upper Egypt. It was constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty, 180–47 BC. Some additions to it were later made during the Roman period. The building is unique because its 'double' design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu. Meanwhile, the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris ("Horus the Elder"), along "with Tasenetnofret (the Good Sister, a special form of Hathor or Tefnet/Tefnut) and Panebtawy (Lord of the Two Lands)." The temple is atypical because everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis.
The Temple of Edfu (Horus) is an Egyptian temple located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu, Upper Egypt. It is one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt. The temple was built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Hellenistic period in Egypt. In particular, the Temple's inscribed building texts "provide details of its construction, and also preserve information about the mythical interpretation of this and all other temples as the Island of Creation." There are also important scenes and inscriptions of the Sacred Drama which related the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East and 15th-largest in the world. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 AD by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture.
Many of the photos are from famous mosques, synagogues, and churches around Cairo, including The Citadel, which has the two large spires.
Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes) and was constructed approximately 1400 BCE. In the Egyptian language it is known as ipet resyt, "the southern sanctuary". In Luxor there are several great temples on the east and west banks. Four of the major mortuary temples visited by early travelers and tourists include the Temple of Seti I at Gurnah, the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, the Temple of Ramesses II (a.k.a. Ramesseum), and the Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu; and the two primary cults temples on the east bank are known as the Karnak and Luxor. Unlike the other temples in Thebes, Luxor temple is not dedicated to a cult god or a deified version of the king in death. Instead Luxor temple is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the kings of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually (as in the case of Alexander the Great who claimed he was crowned at Luxor but may never have traveled south of Memphis, near modern Cairo).
The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt).
The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and West Valley.
With the 2005 discovery of a new chamber and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from KV54, a simple pit, to KV5, a complex tomb with over 120 chambers). It was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, as well as a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the pharaohs.
The Giza pyramid complex, also called the Giza Necropolis, is the site on the Giza Plateau in Egypt that includes the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, along with their associated pyramid complexes and the Great Sphinx of Giza. All were built during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. The site also includes several cemeteries and the remains of a workers' village.