after the mile walk to the metro station in the cool morning, i was excited to see exactly what the metro would look like. transportation in various countries can be colorful. as efficient as south african khumbies are, they are a haphazard bunch of minivans typically held together with floss and a prayer.

that said, the metro here is a pretty standard train. packed beyond capacity at some points but a train none the less. i toyed with the idea of riding in the harem car but after seeing women enter the general population cars i joined them – martin in tow.

given that the cities in egypt are along the nile the metro runs accordingly. and so we left el maadi and arrived at the sadat station. men selling newspapers, and tea on the side of the road blended with cars ignoring traffic rules. cairo is as city as it gets.

after dodging traffic we arrived in line to pass through the first of two sets of metal detectors. on to buy tickets at roughly $12 and then to find our guide. touts offered their services widely but we had prearranged a guide who is actually an egyptologist and not simply someone who speaks english.

wahid was amazing…given that the egyptian museum has enough stuff in it to make even the most focused person feel like she has ADD. i’m not that focused and sometimes i found myself wandering in the opposite direction of wahid and interrupting to ask…why or how or when?

patient man and knowledgeable beyond my capacity to understand, he answered questions. and when there was no answer he offered that up as well and theories for the absence of information.

this trip stems from an unrealized dream of my high school days, when i was supposed to make this trip the summer before senior year. the trip was cancelled at the last minute and i’ve been thinking about it ever since. but in the wake of the cancellation i was mildly obsessed with egypt for a while. i read up on her mythology and history. today reminded me how much i love egypt’s women.

when i was subbing a few years back i remember doing a lesson on queen hatshepsut – the queen who would be king. i was all the more excited about her a few days later when one of my students pointed me out in the crowded hallway and told his mother, “that’s miss ashley, she taught us about queen hatshepsut.” who knows why he was excited about her…but i was excited to share such a kick a$$ woman.

in this pharaoh you have a woman willing and able to take over egypt. when her husband died, instead of allowing the throne to be passed to the young son, she instead ruled both as queen and king. and she ruled well. 22 years until she finally died of cancer…but in all that time she was not a woman to be trifled with. on down the line…king tut’s grandmother (who ruled for her husband – pretending to be him and doing so well that in the largest statue in the museum she is seen with both the upper and lower crowns of egypt – to his solitary one- and her hand extended to his back to support him – a male posture). these women took no mess.

lets just say i can’t begin to share what is housed in that museum. martin, the history buff, has been multiple times and still responded as if it were his first time…because in a lot of ways it always is. apparently, if you looked at every object for 15 seconds it would take you months to see everything…that is how much is there.

wrapping up the day, we had dinner delivered from a local spot. molokeyha with chicken…a dish that is a kind of green soup the consistency of okra with a red tomato based soup to accompany them both over rice. kobeba – known to me better as kibbie. baba ghannoug. and aubergine with garlic, tomato and vinegar. it was all pretty amazing and martin – who had never had any of it before – said he’d be happy to let me order again…you know i’m loving that.

around about 3 in the morning i’m off on my next adventure…flying to luxor to start my nile cruise that will end at aswan. i’m sure i’ll have things to report on that upon my return.

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2 Comments on metro to antiquity

  1. TY says:

    wow!…I so want to be with you right now! Queen Hatshepsut…that's my girl…

  2. Ess says:

    How do you even pronounce 'Hatshepsut'? You must be ecstatic fulfilling this dream. Have yourself a good time and try not to get food poisoning :-).

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