Wandering around Cairo

I’m staying at the Semiramus Intercontinental Hotel.

Semiramus Hotel

I’ve spent the evenings wandering around downtown Cairo. I’ve never seen a city as busy as this. I really enjoy it, but I could see how it would become tiresome after a while.

The Camel Market

Last weekend, we got up really early Friday morning to go to the Camel market outside of town. Anna hated it, but I found it fascinating.

I’ve never seen a more uncooperative animal. I can’t imagine what they were like before they were ‘domesticated.’

The camels themselves weren’t really all that amusing, but the chaos they caused when they decided to run was a sight to see, especially when two really small Bedouins were charged with keeping them in line.

The really fascinating part was watching the buyers inspect the camels, and make a deal with the sellers. Apparently you can tell a lot about a camel by pinching its fat and feeling the area immediately in front and behind the hump. At times, I thought the negotiations were going to come to blows. But I guess its part of the game.

Just another day in a 3’x3′ office

I haven’t sent any emails because I haven’t had a computer for the past week. Roger (the MCO) returned Sunday and reclaimed his office. I set up shop in one of the interview booths. They’ve been joking that despite being a 3′ x 3′ room, I have a window office; a window of bullet-proof glass facing a small, window-less room.

The IT guy finally managed to get one of the six laptops sitting on his desk up and running today. So now I have a computer in my executive suite. I patiently watched him screw up the network settings today, so I can’t connect to the internet at the hotel.

Work has been pretty good. This week has disappeared quickly, so obviously they’re keeping me busy. I’m running a competition to hire a new locally engaged employee for the immigration program. We’ve also had some interesting consular cases recently. I’m hoping to sit down with Roger soon and start working on property and finance.

Egyptian Antiquities Museum

I visited the Egyptian Antiquities museum a few days ago.

It’s not huge, but the volume of stuff is incredible. I really like the semi-disorganized state that it’s in. There’s very little behind glass, and you can get right up close to almost everything. Some explanation of the items would be helpful, but who really cares if half of the stuff isn’t labelled. I actually entered a couple of sections that were quasi-closed. I had to climb over stuff that they hadn’t bothered to take out of the crates.

It’s an amazing museum. I’m going to have to go back again with my guidebook to interpret what everything is. King Tut’s stuff was really amazing, but what interested me the most were little diaramas assembeld from wood carvings that the Egyptians had used 5000 years ago to record their daily activities. There’s hundreds of them depicting daily life – farming, fishing, making pottery, tanning leather… It was very cool.

Unfortunatley, they only let you take photos from the outside. I guess I’ll have to scan some post cards.

Egyptian Museum

Another amsuing fact: they have huge versions of Marm’s door knocker on the front doors. They’re exactly identical.

The Pyramids at Giza & the Sphynx

I’m working with Anna, the Deputy Management and Consular Affairs Officer right now. Next week the MCO returns from vacation and I’ll start working with him too. Anna’s brother is also visiting at the moment, so they’ve planned all kinds of neat activities and invited me to join them.

Last weekend we visited the pyramids at Giza (just outside of Cairo) as well as the bazaar in Old Cairo. The pyramids are really impressive. They were bigger than I expected. And the tombs are really neat, even though they’re empty. The requisite photos of me riding a camel and standing in front of the Sphynx are below. Not very creative, but I think they’re a necessity.

Chad on a camel

Chad at the Sphynx

I think this is a great shot of Anna, Costa, and our guide walking towards the great pyramid:

And finally, here’s one last shot of the Sphynx and pyramids:

OK. I couldn’t resist, just one more:

The Pyramid of Zozer

I am the Key Master. Have you seen the Gatekeeper?

Step Pyramid

Zozer or Djoser built the first pyramid. I’m glad this was the first stop on our trip that day, as they only got better. This was actually a really cool complex.

Here’s Anna, Costa, and me in the temple.