First Days in Cairo

Alight in Cairo, Egypt. A thrumming metropolis today, and world-renowned hub for ancient artifacts. There is an infinite quality to the city; an endless web of streets and alleys whirls, blends and extends off into innumerable places and spaces. All the whole It is alive with laughter and dialogue in Arabic, as people come together over tiny cups of Turkish style coffee and smoke shisha in the street.

I arrived at my hostel at dusk after the plane from NYC was delayed 5 hours. Frankly I was amazed it wasn’t cancelled due to the storm deemed ‘Cyclone Bomb’ that descended upon the northeast, conveniently as I was due to leave. Dahab Hostel is a lovely stay, with plants and an open-air terrace. I am enjoying my private room for less than 10 usd a night.

I made my way to the must-see Egyptian Museum on foot and paid the entry of 120 EGP (about 8 usd). The sheer volume of artifacts is astonishing and as I began my speculation I was struck by how well preserved (or restored) everything was. The carvings were immaculate, so symmetrical and artistically superb. I felt blown away by the craftsmanship of these massive sculptures, tablets and tombs. Not to say the tiny pieces made of ceramic stone and wood weren’t also captivating. They were tiny treasures!

Caskets were embellished with paints which emanated the purest colors. Seriously, the blues were so striking and pure more enlivening than modern mass produced paint a thousandfold. The detail and beauty will really sweep you off your feet as you are invited to conjure up in your minds eye the gilded and ostentatiously ornate palaces and temples where these pieces called home thousands of years ago.

Depictions of the gods, pharaohs, Queens, animals and deities along with hieroglyphs decorate the surface of every piece. Running your fingers across the surface you are drawn to the perfect execution of every carving. It’s hard to fathom how meticulous and talented these craftsmen were.

Humoring the facet of my personality which is enamored with archaeology, has blessed me with imagery and beauty the likes of which I have never seen. Truely, I’ve never been surrounded by such beautiful things. What a gift to be in the presence of such a potent portal to the ancient past.

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