Things I did at My First Day in Cairo
Due to living in war zone area, I got privilege from organization where I work for to have Rest and Recuperation (RnR) every eight working weeks. After two months, separated from other part of the world, I could finally take my breath freely and planned my next holiday trip in Africa. I chose Egypt as my first RnR destination due to my interest in history of one of oldest world civilization. In addition, my journey to Egypt is the other way to see what Karl May wrote in his book “Und Friede auf Erden” when he started his trips to Far East countries, where it was begun from Egypt.
I travelled alone, but not completely alone. My friend introduced me to Indonesian student studying in Cairo that could help me to look around Egypt. Due to his privacy, I won’t mention his name in these stories. Instead, I gave him a nick name Mr Rius to keep his privacy off.
I arrived in Cairo at 01 am in the morning, Cairo time. I was excited and didn’t want to wait longer to see how Cairo is. I even forgot that it was in the middle of the night, when people all get tired and not really in good mood, including immigration officer that would stamp my passport. I chose him, because of his good looking face, and it was a big mistake. That man, he looked me in the eye, asked so many questions about what I was going to do in Cairo. Even, he asked me to show my national identity card (it bit annoyed me), asked how much money I take with me, where I am going to stay in Cairo, and a lot of annoying questions. At the end, I showed him the ID card from organization where I work for, and he stamped my passport immediately. He really ruined my mood.
However, the atmosphere of the city made me forget the rude behavior of that immigration officer. Rius was already at arrival gate when I finally got my bag (it was removed to ‘lost and found’ area). It was not difficult to recognize him due to his Indonesian look. Once he saw me, he gave nice welcome greeting, took my bag and took me by his car to the guest house where I would stay.
During my trips in Egypt, I stayed at Wisma Indonesia, a guest house managed by Indonesian students living in Cairo at those moments. The price was really good, 30 USD per night including breakfast, and the room was clean too. Even though it’s called Wisma Indonesia, foreign travelers are welcome to stay.
Cairo is beautiful, but with many traffic jams at many corners of city. Nile river flows along the city, showing some boats offering the sightseeing tour for the tourist. If you drive more out of the city, you can even see the summit of pyramids of Giza standing steady and greatly.
Rius took me to Egypt Museum as my first step at the next day. There were thousands interesting ancient stuffs, artifacts, statues and many more, exhibited in the large hall. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take my camera with me due to management regulations and must be satisfied to keep all memories in my head. The building itself has two stories where the first one purposed to papyrus collection and ancient coins. The papyruses are in small measurement due to decayed process happened in the last two millenniums and it’s found in many languages such as Greek, Latin, Arabic, and ancient Egyptian.
The second floor consists of statues of pharaohs, necklaces, bracelets, pharaoh’s beds and many more. But what I amazed the most was the Mummies room, where Pharaohs dead bodies laid there after thousand years. To enter this room, I had to pay additional entrance fee.
I couldn’t stop wonder the knowledge of ancient people to keep these dead bodies stay in good condition. King Ramses II, King Amhotep I, King Amenhotep II, King Seti I, Queen Hatshepsut, King Tuthmosis I, King Tuthmosis II, King Tuthmesis III, King Tuthmosis IV laid there, covered with boxes made from the glass. You could not imagine how these mummies can stay in good condition after thousand years. Some still have the hairs, teeth and nails, and they’re still completed.
I went out museum after five hours walking around and seeing all those adorable ancient stuffs. It was five o clocks in the afternoon after Rius and I enjoyed our late lunch at one of Indonesian restaurants. After two months living in Africa, there was no word to describe how I missed Indonesian food so much. No matter where I went, Indonesian food is always the best for me.
The sun was still there when we’re out of restaurant. I agreed when Rius suggested me to spend the afternoon at the bank of Nile river. In the middle of city, local government had made water front area along the Nile river, where people can have a good relax and sit, while watching boats coming and going. It was perfect place to end the day.