Entries by tag: egypt


A great trip to NYC

rsc and I had a wonderful trip to NYC. We went down by Amtrak on Wednesday, stayed in the Fairfield Inn and Suites - right next to Penn Station, and returned by Amtrak on Sunday.

On Wednesday night we went to the Met to see Aida. What a wonderful production: great sets, staging, and costumes - and fine singing as well. There were no elephants on stage, but there were some horses including one that was very overactive. (There were a couple of elephant tusks).

On Thursday we went to MOMA to see the Henri Matisse; The Cut-Outs exhibit. I hadn't known about his technique: he painted bright colored gouache onto to white paper, cut out shapes with scissors and pinned them on the background which gave him opportunity to adjust the composition. It is rare that an artist can use a helper like that.Then when he liked it, he glued the shapes onto the background material - very clever. There was lots of explanation and a short film of him doing it. At one point he was sitting in a chair and pointing to his assistant as to where to pin the shape. It is there until Feb 8 next year.

That evening we went to see Gone Girl, an interesting movie.

On Friday we walked down the entire High Line - starting at the newly opened Interim Walkway at 34th st. The High LIne is such a brilliant reuse of an old structure - lots of people were there and the plantings were in excellent shape. It seems to be well funded - we saw lots of works there tending the plantings. And then lunch with a classmate of Robert's. In the evening we went to Village Contra, the NYC gender free contra dance (that for the moment isn't in the village while the LGBT Center is being reconstructed). I'd forgotten to bring a skirt - but a quick trip to Goodwill earlier in the day found a nice one - although a bit too big so it will need some adjustments. And a bunch of us met up afterward at the Stage Door Deli (almost next door to our hotel) and 2 blocks from the dance.

On Saturday we went to the Frick Museum and to the Central Park Zoo. Although I lived about 3 blocks from the Frick for many years - middle and high school - I had never been there. It is a mansion turned into a museum with a number of very fine works. I used to go to the Zoo with my mother when I was little kid. It was different then - I think there was a smelly monkey house and lions, etc. in small cages. It is much more humane now. There was a snow leopard exhibit outdoors but we never did see any of the snow leopards. Dinner was at Paulo's, a fine italian restaurant near the concert hall. And for the evening we went to see Jeremy Denk, a most excellent pianist, at the 92St Y auditorium. The program Haydn sonata, a potpourri of Schubert intermixed with Janáček where parts of the Janáček themes were related/suggested by the Schubert; the second half was Mozart's K511 Rondo (which we had heard Richard Goode playing a week before) and Schumann's Carnivale.

We returned on Sunday.


Signs in an Egyptian Airport

While going through security, at either the Aswan or the Abu Simbel airport I saw the following prohibitions of items that you can't take through.

Spiral Taking Away Instrument for Cork

Subjects used to Lighten Coating and Terpenin Material

Imitations of Explosives or Explosion Devices

Spray that used to Paralyze Movement


Some of the place we visited

We're back home from the most splendid trip to Egypt with a pre-trip to Rome. Soon there will be lots of pictures. Ah for the good old days when I used film and had to be miserly about taking pictures and there was much less work culling out the best ones.

These are tickets to some of the places we visited:

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with camera

That famous cat really exists

Today we went to Giza to see the most famous pyramids and the Sphinx. The Pyramid of Cheops is in pretty good shape for 3510 years of wear and tear. The surface has been messed up by reuse of some of smooth outside blocks for other construction projects, natural erosion, and some vandalism but it is there. It seems even more colossal than I imagined.

And then we went to see the Sphinx. Also even bigger than I expected.

Here are a few of my many photos from various angles.
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A brief report from your Egyptian correspondent

We just spent a week on the SS Karim, a small paddlewheel steamer, cruising the Nile. The boat holds 28 passengers - we had 26 since one pair of people cancelled their trip. The food was great, the accommodations excellent - best reading lights from the other hotels we visited, and the company good.

The Nile is just a lovely river, lots of great scenes of people farming, washing their clothes, and other such activities as we went by. There were few other tourists out because many people cancelled their trips. This was probably the best time to go. As a result the tombs and temples were virtually empty. Many pictures were taken and soon I'll start working on them. There is some really incredible stuff to be seen - a lot of it - some damaged of course but much in pretty good shape.

Tomorrow we return to Cairo and will go to the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square - the main site of the protests. And then the Giza pyramid and The Sphynx. We saw many smaller sphynx at some of these temples where there were huge lines of them.

And then it will be returning home.
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At the Khan el-Khalili Souk in Cairo

Late in the afternoon of our first day in Cairo (we were at a hotel by the airport that night) we went into the Khan el-Khalili Souk Bazaar. It is pretty a well known spot. By one of the entrances there was a Mosque and there was a steady parade of people taking off their shoes and going in to pray - another entrance was inside. Each little shop had a huge array of attractive stuff as you can see in these pictures and a very polite salesman trying to get you to buy. They all said "Welcome to Egypt" many times. I think we were some of the first tourists who have come to Egypt since the revolution. None of us bought anything - the advice was to offer 30% of what they asked. I'd guess we passed a couple of hundred of these booths and there were many more. We left this souk and a couple of blocks away there was another one with wares more suited to the locals.

Click here to see this Flickr album --
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with camera

Checking in on our travels

A quick summary - more to come with too many pictures eventually - perhaps not until after we get back.

We arrived in Rome on Sunday and were there for four days. We did a lot of walking. The biggest day was Monday when we started off from the hotel at 9:30 for a visit to the inside of the Colosseum (we'd been to the old Roman ruins and the outside of the Colosseum on Sunday) and then walked to the Vatican seeing lots of things on the way such as the Pantheon. The Vatican Museum is the most amazing place - I've never seen so much art in one museum. We walked through room after room filled with art from floor to ceiling - quite literally - gaping, oohing and ahing and eventually reached the Sistine Chapel. We did not even go to the whole museum. Then we went to St. Peter's and climbed the tower to great views and then down to the inside. We got back to our hotel at about 7 with only about 1/2 hour sitting down to lunch. Our hotel (Albergo Cesári) was quite centrally located and near the Trevi fountain which always had crowds.

We've been to Italy a few times but never to Rome. It was even better and more overwhelming than I had expected. I've never seen so many fountains, statues, columns, obelisks, sculptures, in one place. Lots of narrow streets - some with no cars (true for our hotel) and lots of people on the streets.

Yesterday we arrived in Cairo and after meeting up with several early arrivals for our trip we went into town - not Tahrir Square - to a huge souk and wandered around resisting all purchases offered by the many very polite vendors. Jewelry, musical instruments, fancy metal work of every kind. And several mosques as well. Also hookah cafes. We went to the touristy section (not many tourists of course) and then to the section where the locals buy stuff - mostly clothes but there was fabric, fancy bedspreads, wads of egyptian cotton -- and lots of scrawny cats wandering about. We must have been welcomed to Egypt several hundred times.

Today we went to the Bent Pyramid - called that because the angle of the wall changes partway up - and the Red Pyramid which we went into - climbing steps, and then descending down a narrow low-ceiling passage with metal step-like things and bannisters on both sides. Then we climbed up some wooden stairs to several more rooms. We went to another nearby Pyramid but with lots of negotiation between our guide and the officials there with many telephone calls by both our guide and the head official we still couldn't go - it was "officially" closed. But we have a lot more to go to for the next almost two weeks. Our hotel for tonight and tomorrow is almost right next to the Great Pyramid which we will visit towards the end of our trip.


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