29.04.2010 28 °C
Cairo is clearly an amazing place to live - 22 million Egyptians can't be wrong. But when all 22 million hit the road each morning in swarms of clapped-out fume-spewing minibuses and tuk-tuks, the air turns blue.
Here is the iconic view of The Pyramids from the roof of our Giza hotel.
Can you see these 4,500 year-old wonders of the ancient world through the haze? No - Neither can we.
But we have not come to complain about the pollution and the constant din - everyone else does that. We are here to be overawed by the ancient monuments and to marvel at the skill and ingenuity of craftsmen whose fingerprints and chisel marks can still be found on the building blocks of history. We have come to visit The Land of the Pharaohs and to walk in the footsteps of men whose handiwork has survived more than four millennia. We will block out the blaring horns and the calls of the muezzins from a thousand mosques, and be transported to a time when Egypt was at the birth of modern western civilization.
And we will start here at the Great Pyramid of Cheops
(Jim is vexed to discover that this pyramid is only 2 inches out of true, while his new deck at home is nearly 5 inches off kilter)
This is the Sphinx
Tonight we had our first Egyptian meal - and what an experience it turned out to be.
The restaurant - El Sisi (The foal) on Haram Street, was gaily festooned; there was even a red carpet to the door. There were flashing lights and music, and huge bouquets of flowers. There were dozens of uniformed staff and hordes of well-dressed customers. But no one was eating. "Can we order? we asked, but no one spoke anything but Arabic. Here is the outside...
while inside, the displays of food looked fabulous.
If only we could get someone to serve us!
Waleed, the owner, eventually came to our rescue and we discovered that we had wandered into the opening night celebration of his brand new restaurant. And we were his very first customers.
Waleed ordered us a feast and we were introduced to all the VIP's who had been invited to the event.
For a terrific meal the next time you are in Cairo - go to El Sisi and give our names. You won't regret it.