For our second day in Egypt we took a taxi from our hotel in Giza into Cairo to visit the Egyptian Museum. It was a solid hour drive with crazy Egyptian lawless traffic. Giza sits on the west side of the Nile and Cairo is on the East, slightly north.
Once we made it to the museum we realized that we should have gotten there earlier. The line (read: chaotic clusterfuck) of 150+ Egyptian school kids was completely out of control. We went all the way to the back and stood there wondering if we should forget about it and come back early tomorrow.
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Then a cabbie we were speaking with a moment earlier called us over to the exit gate where he asked the guards to let us in. In exchange for this most triumphant hookup, we agreed to use him as our ride back to Giza later.
Inside the museum we were immediately overwhelmed. Over 100,000 objects in 60 or so rooms. There's no way we could see everything, nor would we want to.
I'm not exactly an Egyptologist., I just want to marvel over cool ancient suit and learn more about Egyptian history and culture.
Our sights were set on the Mummy exhibit, which cost extra to see, and The King Tut exhibit. How very touristy of us! We saw a good majority of the first floor, and barely touched the ground floor.
I couldn't believe how raw the mummy exhibit is. The bodies were unwrapped from the neck up. The Pharaohs arms were exposed and crossed over their chests. Only royalty were buried in that position.
Some had cracked skin on their faces, likely damage from exhumation, and some of their toes had fallen off.
The deadest dead I've ever seen.
Most have been dead for thousands of years, and some have perfectly preserved, hair, teeth, and skin. Looking beyond the black shriveled deadness I tried my hardest to imagine what their facial features were like when they were alive. Two of the mummies had fake eyeballs which were amazingly creepy but helped me imagine how they looked before.
The mummies are kept in temperature controlled rooms guarded beyond a layer of secondary security. We weren't allowed to speak in more than a hushed whisper and definitely no photos. When I tried to sneak a pic I got yelled at and the guard even snapped his finger at me.
The first mummy room was for royalty. Ramses and other Pharoahs whose tombs had been discovered were on display. Did they ever imagine this would be their fate? Do you think they'd be pleased that they are remembered and cherished, or upset their elaborate tombs were disturbed?
Apparently the second room holds far less important people because the environment wasn't nearly as strict. In total we saw around 30 bodies.
I really enjoyed learning more about King Tut and seeing the artifacts found in his tomb. I could have stared at his mummy mask for ages to discover all the little golden details.
What I gathered is how well loved he was. Pounds and pounds of gold were buried with him for protection in the form of statues and amulets.
His internal organs each had their own sarcophagus and burying box complete with gold guard statues and other trinkets.
That's a hell of a final send off for a crippled 19 year old who had only been Pharaoh for 10 years. He really did a lot of good for the Egyptian people and their economy at the time is what I understand.
At the museum we had an interesting conversation with a smart 17 year old Egyptian boy with perfect English. He was excited to introduce us to his beautiful girlfriend and expressed his ultimate dream of moving to America one day to find success.
He shared how frightened he is because he doesn't feel like being in America would be safe for someone like him, being a Muslim foreigner.
I told him how Americans feel the same way about going to Egypt and that many don't visit (or even leave America, for that matter) because they feel it's unsafe. He empathized and asked if we felt unsafe in Egypt. The answer was an emphatic no.
We had dinner at a cute little restaurant decorated like a jungle complete with cooing doves in a cage. This is where we got adventurous and ordered traditional Egyptian food. We got stuffed pigeon and fatta with lamb shank.
I didn't eat much of the stuffed pigeon after Nick ate an unidentified internal organ. The meat was good though, and the rice stuffing had incredibly rich flavor.
This was the night that I let jet lag get the best of me and fell asleep immediately upon returning to the hotel and slept from 4pm to midnight. Oops!