Finally, today, I felt like I saw Cairo. So be prepared... I have posted lots of pictures. For the whole set, click here to view them on flickr.
We headed out this morning to the popular market known as Khan el Khalili, and were dropped off on a dirty side street corner with a finger pointing us "that way" before driving off in the ever busy traffic. We crept hesitantly into what seemed to be back corridors and a maze of secret passageways. Suddenly, a friendly "student" walked up and politely informed us we were on the Egyptian side of the market, whereas the Tourist side was on the other side of the busy street. No matter, this is the side to be on apparently; no tourists and cheaper prices, and of course legitimate handicrafts, food, and goods as opposed to the knock off, made in China junk from the other side of the road.
We soon found out our extremely knowledgable guide was a local university student who is studying antiquities. He led us to the most beautiful mosque in the city, knew all its ins and outs and how to climb the tower, the dates and names of those who had built it, the streets to head down to find the most well known and respected papyrus maker/painter in the city (there was a stack of highlighted guidebooks on the artist's table to drive home the point... he is a legend), the best kebabs, and the Old Spice Market. Now, whether or not this student just "happened" to be there as we teased him about all day, he was still very friendly and compliant, not pushy, and of such vital importance to us (as we soon discovered wandering hopelessly in the maze at his mercy) that we were happy to comply and send him off with a handsome tip at the end of the day.
After spending most of the day climbing towers, exploring mosques, pushing our way through markets and wandering through ancient city streets, we headed down to the Nile for a traditional Falukah ride. This was an old sailboat that took us out on the most refreshing and beautiful early evening tour of the river, especially after a long and exhilirating day of walking and exploring.
After a long day of snapping the camera at everyone and everything else, I thought a little proof that I had in fact been there as well was in order. One posed and one self-portrait are enough for now:)
Hopefully the pictures speak for themselves. I am sitting in a hotel lobby, hocking internet time and it is time to sign off. Good night from Cairo!