Tahrir Square and The Cairo Museum - A Revolution of our own

Enjoy the Revolution
It was clear by day six of our journey that not only were we in a midst of a revolution of change, but that our adventure was changing us. Our "tight" pants, which we had debated to even bring were now fitting loosely on our bodies that were now darker than (or redder than) I had seen either of us in ages. My hair had became super bleached and our skin was dry and leather-like in the desert climate. I've come to the conclusion no matter how hard you try to fit in somewhere, the first day you will always look like an outsider- but by the third day- you start to slowly shed something. I'm not saying we completely fit in, but Cairo was clearly beginning to take its affect upon us.

Al-Tahrir Square
One of key reasons for staying at the Juliana Hotel was its closeness to Tahrir Square, the famed town square of Cairo where the January Revolution took place last winter. Only weeks prior to our arrival had the military removed the last of the tanks occupying the streets and changed their military officers back into the white, less intimidating, "street police" uniforms. Despite these changes there still was a feeling among the people and the city that the revolution was on-going. Currently Egypt is in limbo with no-central government. Its military attempts to maintain law and order without appearing they've seized government control as some factions already are suggesting and complain of. There's a constant pressure for the military to demonstrate that Egypt is in the hands of its people, not its military. The hope is come Fall, is that elections will be held and a new democratic Egypt will emerge. It is however a country at a tipping point, and it's clear that the American government would prefer  "The Brothers", a conservative organization of male Islamic fundamentalists, (similar to our own Tea-Party) to never reach power. However rather than seize the government, the Muslim Brotherhood has paid attention to history (perhaps reading Mein Kampf) and have chose to rise to power through the election and will of the people. Despite a very liberal and young Egypt, (average age is 30 in Egypt)  it's likely the "new" Egypt will be led by an older generation with more conservative Islamic values. It certainly makes little to no sense, but apparently if elections were held back in January, the Muslim Brotherhood would be heavily in control of tthe Egyptian government. Yet it was the younger revolutionaries who adhere to a more modern interpretation of Islamic laws and values who were the ones who overthrew the Moubarak and the government. It shall be truly interesting to see how the country goes, and I was so grateful to experience the place, and meet the people of the revolution.
Burned out building behind the Cairo Museum.
Politics aside, Tahrir Square is a land area about the size of a foot-ball field, and it's more of a giant traffic circle. It's the center of everything, much in the way Times Square is in New York. There's travel agents, the antiquities museum, the American University, and several fast foods including KFC, and Hardee's. Yes Hardees. Weird. Yee Haw!

Tahrir like many public spaces in Egypt, or just as well in Europe, are commonly used for recreation. Especially after night-fall when the 95F+ heat subsides, and families congregate to socialize and have dinner (often picnic) in Tahrir or down by the adjacent Nile river. During the day there is some panhandling and begging, but nothing like what occurs out at the Pyramids. I certainly would refer to my previous "guide" to how to handle these situations.

Al-Tahrir Square
It was on day six we grabbed our first full meal in about two days. Previously we had lived off some cheese and chocolates our Belgian friend Christie had gifted us. We were ready to conquer The Cairo Museum adjacent to Al-Tahrir Square. The problem with eating for the first time in two days when you haven't is something in Cairo they call "The Mummies Revenge". I clenched real hard, swallowed my emergency loperamide and hoped for the best as we entered the museum. Unfortunately there was nothing I could do, and Shannon broke out her list of Arabic phrases to approach a woman and ask for the nearest toilet.
One Western Bacon Thickburger Please!
As she pointed to a small door on-top of several flights of steps I let out a whimper hoping my semester of weight training would benefit certain muscles and their ability to hold back disaster. I made it and tossed the attendant a couple Egyptian pounds for about 5 squares of toilet paper. When I landed into the nearest stall, the toilet rocked back on the bolts as I completed my mission of shock and awe to the Cairo water treatment plant. Praise Allah! Now there was the matter of the five squares. I have never been less wasteful with toilet paper in my life. It was like a wrinkled dollar bill in a coke machine to which you unfold every little corner. I was lucky enough to also have a maxi-pad which I shredded into little chunks so I might gain an upper hand on the situation. All I needed was one more wipe and I'd be good to go. That's when I noticed the plastic wrap for the pad. Oh yes I did. Cairo changes you... makes you appreciate toilet paper.
Cairo Museum

Unfortunately they don't allow cameras into the museum. Shan almost went to jail when the military officer believed her GPS was a camera. She tried to explain it's a "map thingy"... which didn't quite translate. Eventually she stood up to the armed officer and said "It's bloody maps!!!", (imitating a Cairo taxi man driving) and they let her through. Cairo changes you... makes you take on armed guards.

The museum is amazing. We paid extra to see the mummy room. It's worth it just for the air conditioning, but even more worth it when you realize you're two inches from Ramses II. You could see he's hair, and toe-nails. Gosh, I hope they take a strand and clone him. It would just blow his mind wouldn't it? He could then come to Cairo and see himself in the museum- how cool would that be?

Egyptian Museum Cafe
After countless dynasties of mummies, hieroglyphics, sarcophagus, and jewelery rooms- right when your mind is about to explode at the realization your in the Museum you always watch on National Geographic Channel, you do what every western money making attraction does and "exit through the gift shop".

While the prices are reasonable, and better yet hassle-free, its very touristy. Once out, there's a small cafe in the back of the museum and a small soda-pop stand for quick Coke. Being dehydrated from the heat and diarrhea- I can say they may have the world's best coke in the world.

On the way back that night we picked up some dinner and drinks to take back to our room. We were starting to get a handle on Cairo... or was it starting to get a handle on us?


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