Discovering the wonders of wander

23 Curious Things To Notice When Travelling In Egypt

1. Sheep and goats chill out on roofs

Sheep and goats live on rooftops in Old Cairo.

My reaction upon seeing sheep and goats hanging out on a rooftop in Old Cairo: “WTF Lina, there are sheep on the roof!” Lina: “It’s Egypt!”

2. Cars and goats share the highway

Goats share the road with motorists on a busy street.

Again, it’s Egypt.

3. Everyone smokes shisha

Three men enjoying shisha at Khan el Khalili.

A very common sight in Khan el Khalili, or anywhere in Egypt for that matter.

Old and young, in cafes, on the streets, in back alleys…  And no one seems to share, because it’s so bloody cheap.

4. Egyptians stuff rice in everything

Pigeon stuffed with rice.

Delicious, oily, salty, pigeon stuffed with rice.

Stuffed pigeons, stuffed wine leaves, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed cabbages, stuffed – you get the idea.

5. The income gap is pretty extreme

Old Cairo, where the past and poverty lingers

Old Cairo, where the past and poverty lingers.

You’ll see the really rich  and you’ll see the very poor, but the middle income group is hard to come by.

6. It’s really common for Egyptians to own a nice summer home somewhere  by the beach

Chilling at El Gouna

Chilling at El Gouna, where the rich hangs out and get a great tan.

7. They have  some of the most persistent, ruthless and sly touts

A ruthless tout and my affable taxi driver

A ruthless tout and my affable taxi driver. Mr. Taxi driver was really friendly, he helped chased a few touts away from me. One day during lunch, he asked me to join him for lunch, and then got me to get the bill. But honestly, he was a really fun and nice taxi driver.

A few invited me to take photos of them, and then extended their hand out to me, expecting a tip. Also, look out for the guy who kindly offers you a flashlight in the tomb, and the guy who eagerly decodes the paintings for you.

8. When they are not after your money, the locals are sincerely nice and friendly

Our happy and funny guide at the fascinating Gayer-Anderson Museum in Cairo.

Our happy and funny guide at the fascinating Gayer-Anderson Museum in Cairo. Gayer-Anderson was a married man who was in a “special” relationship with his servant. Mr. Guide made sure that if that were one thing we took away from our visit, it was that Gayer-Anderson was gay. Mr. Guide, you succeeded.

9. They love Asians

As this groups of girls ran towards me tugging my arm and asking me for a photo, I ask myself "why are they so fascinated by Asians?"

As this group of girls ran towards me tugging my arm and asking me for a photo, I asked myself “why am I so awesome?” But honestly, they just have a weird fascination with Asians.

Me, a Chinese girl in Egypt? Photos, questions, and more photo requests, I was a rock star.

10. The Pyramids of Giza are cool, but a tad  bit overrated.

It’s majestic, I know. But trust me when I say the awe doesn’t last too long.

The Pyramids of Giza.

This dude at the Pyramids of Giza tailed us during our entire visit. He then invited us to take a photo with his camel, asked us for a tip, and disappeared into the dessert dust.

It is located near the city, aggressive touts will tail you until you ride their camel, and it’s really just a dark empty space inside. Go, but don’t expect too much.

11. Continuing with our theme of overrated tourist destinations, the Sphinx is the tiniest damn thing

Don't be surprised if the Sphinx is smaller than you imagined.

Don’t be surprised if the Sphinx is smaller than you imagined.

12. The Egyptian Museum, and the Valley of the Kings and Queens is mind blowing

The paintings and carvings at the Valley of the Kings and Queens will blow your tiny little human mind.

The paintings and carvings at the Valley of the Kings and Queens will blow your tiny little human mind.

Over 120,000  treasures unearthed from the Pyramids and tombs are stored in the Egyptian Museum that has been filled to the brim. The colours and stories of paintings in the tombs in the valleys are so vivid, your simple human brain will go “wow” a million times and more.

13. Tahrir Square? It’s literally a small roundabout in the middle of a street

The infamous Tahrir Square is literally a roundabout in Cairo.

The infamous Tahrir Square is literally a roundabout in Cairo.

They way the media made it up to be, you’d expect it to be a tad bit bigger.

14. Parks and greenery are very hard to come by in Cairo

A horse carriage ride around Luxor.

A horse carriage ride around Luxor.

People would set up chairs to hang out by the side of a busy highway in what little greenery they have. The only proper park I went to ,  Al Azhar Park in Cairo, required an entry free.

15. Someone turned up the saturation of the colours at the Red Sea

The colours of the Red Sea were to die for

The colours of the Red Sea were to die for. I swear to Amun Ra, no colour, light, nor contrast manipulation was involved in the making of this photo.

It’s so insanely vivid and beautiful, it’s surreal.

16. Shopping can be really cheap

Trinkets for sale at Khan el Khalili

Trinkets for sale at Khan el Khalili.

Just try not to get ripped off.

17. The Nile River is not exactly the cleanest thing

Children hanging out by the Nile River in Cairo.Children hanging out by the Nile River in Cairo.

Dead cows have been seen floating there.

18. But, you can still fish at the Nile River

Fishing at the Nile River in Luxor.

Fishing at the Nile River in Luxor.

 Just make sure you don’t fish a dead cow.

19. The sunsets are intense

Intensely orange sunset from the top of Nefertiti Hotel in Luxor.

Intensely orange sunset from the top of Nefertiti Hotel in Luxor. The perfect view for mint shai (tea) and shisha.

20. The mosques are breathtaking, peaceful, and blissfully tout-free

The beautiful details in the Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun in Cairo.

The beautiful details in the Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun in Cairo.

If you see a climbable minaret, climb it.

21. When it’s not too hazy, the triangular silhouette of the Pyramids against the square boxes that is the Cairo skyline is a sight to behold

The view of Cairo from the Citadel.

The view of Cairo from the Citadel.

In retrospect, the Pyramids are more majestic from afar than they are up close.

22. They didn’t just mummify humans, they mummified pets and animals as well

Ancient animals in the Cairo Museum.

Mummified ancient fish and crocodile on display in the Egyptian Museum. I got kicked out of the museum after taking this photo, and a few others.

23. And, they have pretty good beer.

It's the best thing on a hot Egpytian summer day.

The best thing to have after a long day in the scorching Egyptian sun.

But what do I know about beer? Anything tastes good on a hot Egyptian summer day.

And there you go, an honest observation of Egypt from fresh Malaysian eyes. I gotta say, Egypt was a very, very fascinating country to visit. I will definitely return for more surprises, and to feel like a rock star again.