The Faces of Egypt: Part 6 (Final)

Our last night in the Sinai peninsula was spent having a party in the desert with a Bedouin group who lived in the deep darkness of the Sahara desert. Candles were lit and covered with glass bottles which were then dispersed at the top of a number of sand dunes. This was a great way to spend our last night before heading back to Cairo. Served with delicious Egyptian cuisine, our group sat around a fire taking turns to follow the Bedouin dance routines accompanied by the sound of drums.

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Our last day in Cairo was spent lazing around in the midday heat and taking refuge in a cool cafe. Cairo has a population of over 20 million people and with all the traffic on the the road, I was surprised to find that there were no traffic lights or stop signs. It was therefore a hair-raising experience to venture across the streets. Clearly, the locals understood how to weave their way through and we followed their cue though I was left with my heart pounding. I could not imagine how many bumper bashings and road rage incidents we would have had under similar circumstances back home.

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After observing the traffic for a while, I found that it was not uncommon to see families of up to four people on a motorbike without head protection.

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This remains one of my favourite pictures of what I call the Tea-seller. He stood in the middle of chaotic traffic, selling glasses of Egyptian tea to those passing by. I guess there were plenty of thirsty people out there.

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The little Cafe we had sought refuge in from the midday heat, hosted its own Wall of fame of Egyptian actors and actresses. Among those well known back in the day,was the late Omar Sharif featured on the right below:


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It seems to me that your trip to Egypt would not be complete if you didn’t stop at a perfumery as you might do in Paris. We eventually did succumb to some very persuasive merchants in buying some of these perfumes which are said to provide the base oils for many famous perfume brands.

The Ancient Egyptians loved beautiful fragrances. They associated them with the gods and recognised their positive effect on health and well being. Perfumes were generally applied as oil-based salves, and there are numerous recipes and depictions of the preparation of perfume in temples all over Egypt. The sales pitch on perfumes I found, was often associated with healing,mystery and seduction. Even the art of selling perfume was seductive πŸ˜€

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Our final stop before leaving for home was at a bazaar in Cairo. If you like haggling over prices and are able to discern value for money, it might be fun, but be warned that you will be strongly persuaded to buy something!

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In closing this chapter, I’d say that a visit to the museum is a worthwhile visit since Egypt is a country that is so rich in history. Since we could not take pictures in the museum, I have not captured this part of our visit. It is well worth a visit since many treasures salvaged from the tombs of the pharoahs and queens of ancient Egypt are showcased here. A lot has happened in Egypt since our visit which might make the experience different.

For me this was one of those trips of a lifetime and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking you on this journey with me and reliving some precious moments. Join me for a visit to Germany next week!



6 thoughts on “The Faces of Egypt: Part 6 (Final)

  1. I love how these photos capture the daily life of the people… families on motorbikes, the tea-seller, challenges of crossing the street. The bazaar reminded me of the night markets in Bangkok–the heat, the haggling, hundreds of knock-off items like Ray-Ban-ish sunglasses, Coach-esque handbags, etc. Did the ankle keep you from joining in the dancing? πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh you’ve done such a great job of summarising exactly what I wanted to get across. Yes, I realised that if you say yes to the goods the first time, you can get seriously short-changed. As for the ankle, no I could not dance but probably caused more damage by continuing to walk on it with the aid of pain killers so that when I returned home I had to use crutches for a number of weeks. Thank you for accompanying me on this trip – you’re a great companion! πŸ˜€

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    1. Oh it was! But I think the pleasure is also in getting off the beaten track and sharing a slice of real life and not just the normal tourist routine. I’ve heard that shopping in Istanbul is similar to Egypt – you need to find out the real value of things to avoid being “swindled”πŸ˜€

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        1. Yes, if you are discerning, you are more likely to get a bargain and the satisfaction that you’re supporting smaller business, closer to families that need the money. The shopping experience here is fun in itself πŸ˜€

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