Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Egypt - Back to Cairo

Dedicated to Emma, Yi-Hua, Pete and Tabs.

It feels like home to be back in Cairo. The traffic has long ceased to faze me, the dust that burns the back of your throat is a familiar sensation, and I comfortably recognise individual streets. Arriving at the airport, I was driven to the Residence under leisurely Friday morning conditions - the equivalent of Sunday morning traffic in Canberra. Furthermore, I was browner than the Egyptian taxi driver, a tan that ellicited a dramatic response from my sister Tabbi, whom I had not seen for around six months.

It has been great to catch up with her again. She's here now before heading off on her second Grand Tour, going up through Egypt, Turkey, Russia and down again through Eastern Europe. Three mates of hers are staying at the Residence for a little while, so we've been exploring the city together.

Yesterday was spent in the Coptic Quarter of Cairo - the Hanging Church, and several other Christian structures in various states of use, reconstruction, and restoration. There was miscellaneous shopping in the Khan to follow, and a riotously colourful Sufi concert late that evening. Today was "Pyramid Day", much like a previous blog post but in reverse order. Tomorrow looks set to be one of my favourite itineraries - the City of the Dead and a walk through Islamic Cairo, although we haven't decided on which part yet. Since Mum and Dad are in different countries right now, Tabs and I are running the show, which has been great fun.

The last few days have been busy, but finally you're up to date here. Only a couple of weeks remain on the Grand Tour, and there are several interesting things ahead. You shall hear about them in due course.


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