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Monday, January 07, 2013

Lost in old treasures.

I met a friend of mine by accident in Cairo Downtown and he told me: "Enter, go left and follow the wings on the first floor, so you don't get lost."  aha. First I couldn't really believe him to get lost. I mean there are maps, guides, etc... until I entered. I remembered his words thankfully.
Visitors are scanned when they enter the area. Maybe such scannings are too overrated. The man behind the computer read a newspaper - the detector beeped when I walked in. But nobody cared. Okidoki.
 After I bought my ticket I saw the sign."It's not allowed to take your bag with you inside the museum." What? You can't take your bag with you inside the Egyptian museum.  But.. . No way out. So you have to trust this old man, who is sitting in a rusty hut with open shelves in his back. He smiles at me (I look probably kind of desperate) and takes my bag (camera, cell phone, personal belongings..). He probably couldn't smash some thieves in the face but would stumble over his walking stick.
To be honest: I see my Canon walking out through the back door of the museum area and getting changed into money on a local market.  Cinema in my brain.
Well, let's stay focused. You're looking for the spirit of Cairo. What you give is what you get. I convince myself to trust his grey eyes - and hopefully I get my stuff back. 

The Egyptian Museum

I enter - going straightly left - into the "Old Kingdom". And column next to column stands or lies in the wings. Lack of space gets a new meaning. But to "feel" the hieroglyphics feels unreal. I'm a person who likes to touch - and so I follow the hieroglyphics with my tips of the finger. Crazy. 7000 year old history - or even older - just right there. wow. The identification plates of the sculptures are from the "typewriter-"type - means very, very old, sometimes impossible to read. Thanks to a famous travel guide chaine with blue-white logo and the helpful explanations. You can also hire a private guide from the park outside. You will be asked at least a dozen times if you need a tour. "Special price only for you beautiful girl." - Of course. And for all the other persons in this ticket queue.

Old Kingdom - Middle Kingdom - New Kingdom: stone sculptures, hand-craftet - sphinxes with faces between a human and a lion, one part of the head of Nofretete (the other part is in Berlin), different sculptures of Ramses II. After so many dead stone sculptures to dead people - visiting the Royal Mummies Hall. I see the first time in my life last pieces of dead human beings. scary and fascinating. I follow the wings into the treasures of Tutankhamun's Gold Chamber. Tutankamun is probably the most famous pharao but had also the shortest Empire of only nine years under his pharao stick during the New Kingdom - the shortest period in the history of the pharaos. But why is he so famous? - Thanks to Howard Carter who discovered 1922 the nearly intact tomb of the Mr. Pharao and the worldwide press coverage. These treasures are shown in the museum in Cairo and one highlight is definetely the mask of King Tut - made of gold, 11 kilos. Sorry, can't show photos. But you find some online.

You exit through an empty museum shop. There is a building totally burnt out during the spring revolution just vis-à-vis.
The grey-eyed man gives me my bag. Everything's safe. Shokran.

Do not go there.

I want to walk home and pass the Tahrir Square. It's huge. And crowded with cars. I see the pictures from the news in front of my eyes - thousands of people - crying, screaming, running, demonstrating, fighting for freedom. Literally it's a big roundabout. But somehow I have a weird feeling. I stop walking and watch the people around me. Everyone stopped walking, looks concentrated and is watching in one direction. I follow their views to the other people on the square.
But with somehow too many people walking towards the other part of the square. The part my friend called it "Do Not Go There, Katie!".

I call my friend - telling to be careful because something is maybe going on but I say "I don't know... Maybe it's nothing." "Ok, thanks. I will take care. But you better go home, Katie."

It's Thursday night, november 22nd. And Mursi grants himself unlimited power.
Bloggers write about the beginning of new demonstrations on Tahrir Square in the afternoon - when I left the museum and passed the Tahrir Square.

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