Memphis and Suez in One Day
Memphis cannot be separated from history of Egypt. This city became the capital and government center in era of Ancient Egypt. It would not be completed, if I had visited Cairo and Alexandria but missed the chance to see city that had been center of government of King Ramses II. It was capital for three thousand years until Roman Empire started to enter Egypt. Nevertheless, the glory of Memphis was only an old story. After Islamic reign moved the capital to Cairo, Memphis was remained as small town.
As typical small town, when I and Rius entered the district of old town, we were welcomed by situation and scenery which was so much different compared to big city as Cairo. I found there were many farmers bringing their harvest by using donkey carts, dusty road with less maintenance, group of women with burka bringing their children to somewhere, little boys grazing their lambs, exhausted farmers sleeping under the trees to protect them from the heat of summer. It was something normal for Egyptian or somebody living in Egypt for long time like Rius. Nevertheless, it was something new and special for me.
My purpose to Memphis was to see open air museum showing remains of glory of ancient Egypt. The city itself was not too far, it could be reached well in 45 minutes by car. It took 21 LE to enter the museum. I didn’t see much left. The remains are for some artifacts, mastaba, big statue of King Ramses II and one sphinx sitting in front of entrance gate. The tourist were not abundant, most of them were locals. It seemed deterioration of Memphis also gave the bad impact to the glorious of that museum. Some street merchants sit at the out of the gates, tried their luck to sell some merchandises to tourists that were rarely visiting Memphis.
It didn’t take long time to visit the museum. Since we left the hotel where I stayed in in really early morning, I still had some times to see other part of Egypt before flying back to Congo with late flight in the evening. Since I always amazed when seeing deserts, Rius suggested me to go to Suez, where I could see deserts along the way. I immediately said Yes, since I’ve visited most of tourist attraction in Cairo.
Anticipating the boring scenery (for Rius), we stopped at small super market to buy some coffee and snacks to both of us. Unlike our trips to Alexandria where along the way we still could find some gas station, super market and restaurants, trips to Suez was just about desert and desert. There was nothing but desert as far as I could see. I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. A bad thought came up suddenly in my mind.
“Rius. How if we get some problem? Flat tires, for example?” I asked.
“Don’t worry. Police kept coming and patrolling in this area” Rius answered certainly. “We just pray that desert storm is not coming”
I didn’t even dare to ask what that desert storm is.
If Cairo has Nile River, Suez has the red Sea. The city was not so big. When we entered more, I could feel that we’re welcomed by rural atmosphere, same as I found in Memphis. Spending the time, Rius and I just sat and relax at one of restaurants by the beach, enjoying the breeze before heading back to Cairo to catch my very late flight.