Walk like an Egyptian


"We don't have rush hour", she told me, "we have rush day".  It would have taken 30 minutes to walk back to the hotel.  The drive through Cairo traffic took much longer.  But it didn't matter - I was too busy thinking about the mummified baboon.

The dimly-lit halls of the amazing Egyptian Museum are home to some of the world's most ancient treasures including mummified Kings and Tutankhamun's legendary tomb and mask.  The whole experience felt a bit like being on a movie set and my imagination went wild.  Strangely though, it was the mummified baboon, with it's distinctive snout and body shape, thousands of years old and visible under the layers of cloth, that stuck in my mind.  It's not every pet that gets sent off into the afterlife in a custom-made coffin.

Walking the streets of downtown Cairo, with a female guide, I felt as safe as I have in any city.  The architecture is a strange mix of Arabic and European and the place seems to hum with energy and passion.  Colourful street art depicts the struggle of the Egyptian people and it is easy to see how the Arab Springs revolution gained such momentum.

A cold, wet and windless day turned a sailboat ride into a hard row for my felucca skipper, but away from the hum of the traffic, there was a stillness that felt quite special on this most ancient of rivers.

Unlike most travellers, I am building up slowly to the crescendo of a Pyramid visit.  Good things are worth waiting for.