When I first heard the word Egypt, it would come as to no surprise what first appeared in my mind – no other, but the Great Pyramid of Giza.
During my secondary school term, we studied Egypt – in fact we studied Egypt a lot! Their culture, traditions and beliefs caught my attention, especially their lifestyle and norms. I fell in love with the romantic notion of Ancient Egypt the first civilisation ruled by a Pharaoh with his elegant attire and the power the pyramids represented. I remember when I was young, I was so caught up with the dream of Egypt that whenever we had a United Nations event, I always chose to perform as Cleopatra so I was hooked even early on.
I heard a lot of mixed feelings from people that visited Egypt, but this never hindered my aspiration to travel there and continue to include Egypt in my three dream countries to visit.
While working as a Flight Attendant, I was part of a multinational company where there are literally hundreds of different nationalities employed – so you always heard a good variety of opinions on travel, the good and the bad. I heard many stories regarding Egypt and at first, I was hesitant to visit as a few said it could be a dangerous place in certain areas and you have to be very careful where you travel. However all of these different reactions and comments made me feel even more eager to visit the country and find out the real truth for myself. I was determined not to let my dream of visiting Egypt be shattered.
When I first arrived at the Cairo International Airport from Doha, I viewed a head of a statue, the head of one of the great Pharaohs, which made me feel completely overwhelmed. I was stunned and within this briefest of moments, already my expectations to see such historical items of interest everywhere I go were running high. It’s such a thrill to reach a destination you have only ever read about from books and seeing your first representation of a destination for real, in person, sets your curiosity even higher than before.
First stop was the visit to immigration within the airport and I was so shocked at the size of the crowd. Feeling more like a public market than an airport, as men and women are shouting and there is no distinct line for the queue. The hustle and bustle of men, women and children eager to reach home. I was so exhausted trying to leave the airport, but it was certainly quite the experience.
There was a sandstorm when I reached Cairo, so the weather certainly could have been better. My friends persevered however and managed to give me the tour around the area.
Right after my friends picked me up from the airport, they took me straight away to an area of ancient Egyptian past. I find it very strange, as I felt like I had travelled back in time. The settings of the area may be old, however are surprisingly well preserved. I loved every moment of absorbing the cultural surroundings. The buildings, even the restaurant’s chairs and tables set up in a very particular way and of course the lighting and music providing a suitable ambience that I can still remember to this day.
My favourite experience though was trying their Shisha (flavored smoke). Which I would consider the best shisha in the world.
We visited a local restaurant, where I tried “Hamama” (roasted dove). It was so delicious, and juicy in every bite. I have tried various local dishes and I am happy to report that Egyptian food is simply amazing. I have tried Egyptian dishes from other countries, but the taste is just not the same as the food you can buy directly from Egypt.
Egypt is an open Muslim country and the quality of the culture I admire the most are how close and respectful they are with their family and especially parents. Something I believe many cultures have lost in some small part, to everyone’s loss.
The Great Pyramid of Egypt
The day finally arrived! Seeing the Great Pyramid of Giza was no doubt the highlight of my adventure. We rode horses in a vast desert for 20 minutes to reach the Pyramids. It was a breathtaking experience to see the massive pyramids with my own eyes. It fullfilled one of my ultimate dreams and I wholeheartedly recommend it for those even with only a small interest in historic buildings. It has the power to change your whole perspective of ancient civilisation, the engineering knowledge and determination these great people demonstrated from thousands of years ago.