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Jan 19th Eva Egypt Diary: 8 Days Trip to Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Hurghada, 10 Things I loved about Egypt

January is probably the best season to travel Egypt because you can avoid the hot sunny weather. I traveled Egypt from Jan 10th to Jan 17th (8 days), and visited Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Hurghada. During the visit I spent 535 euros.

Here's the top 10 things that I loved about Egypt.

1. Swimming in the Red Sea in Hurghada

2. Spending time with my Korean friend Hyunjung in Cairo

3. Recording music in Hurghada, the people I met there

4. Visiting Khan El Kalili with Salwa and Esraa in Cairo

5. Spending time with Raf's family in Luxor

6. Picnic near the Nile river in Aswan

7. Meeting British couple Francis and Natalie in Egyptian museum.

8. Going to old Cairo with Shaker

9. Going to Koptik village and cave church with Sangwoo

10. My favorite food: having grilled fish at fish market in Hurghada

이제 이집트를 떠난다.
제일 좋았던 10가지를 뽑으면
하나, 후르가다 홍해에서 수영한 것
둘, 현정언니랑 보낸 시간
셋, 후르가다에서 녹음한 음악, 만난 사람들.
넷, 자매랑 같이 피라미드, 시장에 간 것
다섯, 룩소르 라프 집에서 가족들과 보낸 시간
여섯, 아스완에서 나일 강 옆 피크닉
일곱, 이집트 박물관에서 만난 영국 부부
여덟, 시장에 셰커와 간 것
아홉, 형부랑 같이 콥틱마을에 간 것
열, 최고의 음식: 피쉬마켓 물고기

Expenditure for 8 days in Egypt:

150 euros (2633) + 500 Egyptian pounds = 3133 Egyptian pounds

Cairo

Fri, Sat 450 (Ziplines 100 tomato 30 SIM card 250 taxi 170)

Sun : 765 (120 taxi from New Cairo to Giza 30 taxi 200 pyramids 155 lunch 90 train from Luxor to Aswan 153 train from Cairo to Luxor 7 tea 10 Metro)

Mon: 355 (Lunch 10 Pants 80 Bazaar ticket 40 Drink 5 Museum 200 Metro 20)

Luxor

Tue: 525 (Touring 360 Bike 75 Lunch 50 Ferry 5 Guide 35)

Aswan
Wed: 310 (Taxi 80 Bus to Hurgada 150 Pizza 50 Plum 30)

Hurgada

Thu, Fri 522 (Taxi 30 Groceries 42 Fish 50 Pants 200 Go-Bus Ticket to Cairo180 Bus and bag 20)

Flights

Arrival:

From Berlin ~ Athens 253 RMB (Ryanair)

From Athens ~ Cairo 969 RMB (Agean Airlines)

Departure:

From Cairo ~ Kiev ~ Berlin 1513 RMB (UIA, Ukraine Airlines)

Total

Flight 2735 RMB (46만원) + 8 days expenditure 3133 Egyptian pounds (23만원) = 69만원 (535 Euros)

Diaries from Jan 10th to Jan 18th

Jan 10th

Egypt

For the first time, I came to Africa.

Cairo

이스라엘의 절친이었던 현정언니를 보러 이집트에 오게 되었다.

5:16 pm. #uberegypt #scooterride
Nunakaterina introduced me to two Egyptian girls and we arranged to meet in front of a mosque. Hyunjung asked me to use Uber to get there. I thought I should try out Uber motorcycle, just like how I did in Vietnam, so I did.
I tried Egypt Uber scooter for the first time. The driver didn’t wear helmet and he drove the motorcycle very fast. It was swift enough to get to the destination on time. But it was very dangerous. I held on to the driver’s shoulders very tight. After 30 minutes of ride, my legs are shaking. My arms are sore. It was a total of 15 km, and all my body was stiff for 30 minutes ride. I had to stretch my whole body for the next 20 minutes. The smog was tremendous. On the scooter I covered my nose and mouth with sleeves.

At 5:11 the prayer started. It’s different from Turkey. #uberscooter #uberscooters

아프리카를 처음 밟은 날, 누나카테리나의 소개로 이스라, 살와 쌍둥이 자매를 만났다. 카이로 대학을 나와 한국에서도 공부하고 이제는 카이로에서 엔지니어로 일하고 있고 한국을 소개하는 기사도 쓰고 있다고. 자매 덕분에 이슬람 여성의 삶에 대해 생각해보게 되었다. First day in #egypt . I met Esraa and Salwa twin sisters. We went to #khanelkhalili market and #alhakimmosque together. Salwa lent me her scarf to me. Under the moonlight, and in the midst of busy streets, the mosque looked mysterious and beautiful. We had interesting conversation about both Egypt and Korea. The sisters lived in Korea for a while, and now they are writing articles about Korean culture and their experience in Korea. We had #egyptianfood #koshary together, and the sisters gave me papyrus painting as a gift.

 

The sisters were very impressive. Salwa actually came first time in 2015 after she won a contest from KBS World. Since her first trip, she fell in love with Korea and started calling it as her second homeland. Later on, both of the sisters started working as Korea Honorary Reporters from Egypt in 2016. But due to their amazing work, the KOCIS, invited them and a few other foreigners to Korea. It was in November 2017. Both the sisters got another scholarship by Korean Embassy in Cairo for almost an year long scholarship to study skills related to web development and web designing in Korea.

#khanelkhalili market in #egypt #cairo . It remind me of Istanbul Grand Bazaar and Arab quarter of the market in Jerusalem.

Jan 11th

너무나 감사하게도 형부가 나를 데리고 #뚝뚝이 를 타고 #콥틱 #쓰레기마을 에 있는 #동굴교회 에 가주셨다. #이집트 에도 기독교 신자들이 있다는 것 그리고 이슬람과 잘 지낸다고 들었다. 한편 이 콥틱 마을에서 쓰레기를 줍는 것으로 큰 부를 쌓게 되었다고. 그런데 이 작업을 하루 라도 쉬면 다른 사람으로 대체되기에 항상 나와서 일한다고 한다. 콥틱교회상 성탄절은 1/7이었기에 우리는 “메리 크리스마스 “라고 인사를 했다. 동굴교회를 본 다음에는 집라인도 탔다. 정말 감각이 다 깨어나는 것 같은 경험이었다.

Jan 12th

Now I’m on my own.

#gizapyramids #egypt Finally I came here. My favorite was #spinx . Thank you so much Salwa for coming here with me!

From here I experience the real Egypt.
Meeting Leith and Shaker, I feel that.
First I was very insecure,
But now I know what I should do.

8:45 p.m.

Leith adviced me to take the Uber from the station. I got out of the Giza station and decided to walk to Esraa’s house. As I got out of the station, I saw several people without a hand, without a leg, begging.
Now I’m waiting for Esraa to come. I walked along the Al Haram street. There were no travelers on the street, only locals. Loud car noise passed by as well. I passed by number of men, and they giggled. Seeing at a Asian lady with black jacket, pants and a poly tail at 8:45 pm was certainly not usual.
“How are you”
They asked, teasing me. Hearing that, I ran until I reached a shop lit with lights next to me. As I walked I saw beggars lying down on the dusty street. I knew the air here is very dusty, so I didn’t open mouth at all. I noticed that I was sweat. I crossed my arms and crunched my back to say that I’m cold 30 minutes ago, but I no longer felt cold.

9:15 p.m.

It seemed like this area had mix of rich people and poor people. I could see 15 stories apartments with marble pillars. I could see high ceiling supermarkets and massage shops. There were beautiful trees planted around the area. But if you don’t look closer or get inside, you’ll easily mistake it as a old and ugly Building.

When the sisters came, they led me to their house. Their mother prepared Mahshi FelFel (stuffed pepper), Mahshi Warak Enab (stuffed grape leaves), Torshi, tangerine and banana for me. I couldn't finish it all, and the sisters packed them for me. They also helped me get on the bus. I was so thankful.

10:00 p.m. in the metro

Egyptian people look very relaxed or I see a sense of comfort in them.

Jan 13th

Thank you so much Natalie and Francis. Thanks to you I had a fruitful visit to Egyptian Museum​.

We appreciated the beauty of Egyptian art.

Natalie: You see how delicate? They weaved thread through the beads around the emblem. We have so many ideas but we can’t put it together. Look how they did it.

What I love about Egyptian art is that it talks to me. It tells me stories.

Maybe it’s just about giving presents and showing off what it is to be a king, talking to gods, and getting a key. What would the scriber at that time would have thought? He would have thought "I’m drawing the same thing over and over again." However, when I saw all the jewelry of the kings in the museum, I thought, wow they had great imagination.

Things that I learned:

1. Natalie: You can see mainly 3 colors here: red, blue and tourquois ​

Carnelian red from Egypt

*Carnelian is a brownish-red mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. ​

Lapis azul from Afghanistan

Tourquios from Nile Sinai peninsula ​

2. Throne. You can see the legs of the throne looks like falcon. On where the king rest his feet is drawn people from Africa, Middle East and China. In the other picture the Spinx are stepping on people from Africa, Middle East and China.


3. When Romans ruled Egypt, they used portrait for mummy.

4. The black dog was guarding in front. And king’s organs were put into the white box behind, then it was put into the golden chamber.


5. It shows that the servants are killing the cow. And they are taking cow's legs - the best part - out. You can also see a cow is crying on the top. The king is smelling the lotus flower.


6. The king is sitting and the falcon is behind his head. On the throne, you can see papyrus growing.

7. Scriber. He needed to get education from 10 -16 and then he will get a certificate to be a scriber. It was a very important position.


8. All the soldiers today set out with left foot in front first, and they do too.

9. How Dung beetles move it up is like a new life.

*The sacred scarab or kheper of ancient Egypt was the dung beetle, an insect that lives off the waste of herbivorous animals. It was seen as an incarnation of the sun god Khepri, and its name was part of many royal monikers, including Men-kheper-re and Kheper-ka-re.

I took a train from #cairo to #luxor . I think I’m the only Asian or even the only foreigner on the train. I’ve seen only Egyptians on the train. When I passed by people said “nihao”, which I ignored. The train ticket was 135 Egyptian pounds, and I had to experience chaotic queue to get this ticket. The journey will take 11 hours to Luxor. I’m in the train now, sitting next to a Egyptian girl with a hijab. I realized something. In Egyptian train, if you’re a woman, they will never make you sit next to a man. Wow, I realized why the tickets were all sold out yesterday. In the train, the merchants are selling eye patch, hat, tissue, and earphone. A lady covered all in black was handing out Arabic note and tissue. The seats are very wide and comfortable, compared to cheapest train seats in China or Korea. #egyptian #egyptiantrain #trainticket #egypt

Luxor

Jan 15th

#medinathabu is really beautiful. I stood there for a long time. Thanks to Yousef, a local Egyptian at the site, I could get into chamber of secrets: the room of after life. #luxor #habutemple #egypt #egyptian #egyptianart

#cyclingegypt Renting a bike in #luxor for one day was 75 Egyptian pounds. I cycled to Medinet Habe and #thevalleyofthequeens . It’s nice to cycle Egypt in January. The sun is hot, but the wind is nice. #januarycycling

#valleyofthequeens I first cycled to Medina, but the guards to told me that I needed a ticket. So I went to The Valley of the queens instead. Fortunately, a group of Koreans came, and I could listen to guide’s explanation about the tomb. Next time I come to Egypt, I really want to know more about Egyptology, its rich art and history. #luxor

I was invited to a Egyptian family’s house. I enjoyed the conversation with the family members. The grandfather was a German teacher and spoke such a good English and German. He had 4 sons, and each son was given 10*300 m land each. Therefore the houses were narrow and long. In the garden they were growing date, lemon, mango, watermelon and all kind of herbs which they picked and let me taste on spot. The mother prepared lunch for me and gave me a small Pyramid as a gift. I became friends with their granddaughters. Such a lovely big family! #luxor #egypt #egyptian #family #corn #muslim #muslimfamily

#luxortemple the pillars look like papyrus or lotus. Lotus means lower part of Egypt and papyrus means upper part of Egypt. Tied stem of papyrus and lotus means reunification of Egypt. Reunifying Egypt was big issue at that time.
Luxor mosque is the only mosque that doesn’t have washing place. Because the water was affecting the walls of the mosque. #luxor #luxoregypt #egypt #temple #6pm #egyptianstatue #pillars

Lotus means lower part of Egypt and papyrus means upper part of Egypt. Tied stem of papyrus and lotus means reunification of Egypt. Reunifying Egypt was big issue at that time.

Aswan

Jan 16th

I’m in Aswan. I’m sitting in front of Nile river. The water is clean and I can see through it.

Compared to Luxor, the Nile is much more still. The other side of Nile looks more heaven like.

 

#aswan #nile . 나일 강의 상류. 내가 본 수많은 이집트 영화 속 나일강의 이미지와 매우 흡사한 것이 바로 아스완의 나일강이었다. 이집트는 사막 뿐이라 대부분의 인구가 다 나일강 근처에 산다. 나일강에서의 휴식은 참 평화로웠다. You may say I’m so silly visiting this city full of temples just for 16 hours, and visiting zero temple. But for me, I just needed to move and see the place. Here in Aswan I felt the peace of Nile river. And that’s already good enough. Just like how I visited Silk Road counties very short term, and later went on a longer journey with a bike. I have a feeling that this might be the same. Bye Aswan.

2:04 bus in Aswan

사랑하는 예린

나는 지금 버스 타고 Hurghada 가는 길. 버스 자리가 좁아서 신발을 벗고 다리를 쪼그리고 가. 운전석 바로 뒷자리라서 앞 좌석에 이렇게 발을 대고 있어도 괜찮아. 여기 오니까 이스라엘이 생각 난다.

이집트의 휴게소 전경. This is what’s happening in bus rest station. A man is calling somebody, people are watching football with a cup of tea in their hand, mom is buying a bottle of water for her daughter, and the driver is having dinner with egg, tomato and cheese. Man on the stand is busily unpacking cheese. And people are chatting in front of bus. The bus ride will take 9 hours from Aswan to the destination Hurgada. #bus #esna #egypt #football #egyptian

Hurghada

Jan 17th

후르가다 에 도착했어.
여기는 정말 사람을 풀어놓게 만든다.
바다가 있고.
나는 항상 왜 겨울에 바다에 오는 걸까.
이스라엘 에일랏도 1월 이었어

여기는 다른 이집트 도시와 다르게 정말 잘 상업화 되어 있어. 그리고 관광객들은 반팔을 입고 돌아다녀. 여기 있으면 정말 현지인과 관광객의 빈부격차를 확연하게 보게 돼.

The best food I had in #egypt was #fish kahaya. There is a #fishmarket near #portgrandmosque , and I had fish lunch with my friend Fati. We chose fish (mine was 50 pounds), and we payed 5 pounds each to have it cooked and seasoned. We sat in a nice cafe and enjoyed our lunch. It was just amazing. I just love fresh fish. Just to have this fresh fish I can comeback to #hurgada .

J
I love Hurghada. I love port, love sea. I love beach. First I love it because I can swim in the sea. Second l love it because I can eat fish.

3:30 p.m.

#swimming in #felfela #beach in #hurgada #egypt . #redsea is so beautiful. As I swim, I could see little fish swimming under me, and corals moving. The picture of the scenery is from 10 am, and I swam at 3:30 probably the best time to swim in Hurgada. Last time I swam in the beach was 2017, last week of September in Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. I missed the sea so much. I love swimming in the sea.

Jan 17th 6:30 a.m.

I went to the #beach to see the #sunrise at #sixthirtyam . I missed the twilight, but it was nice. I liked the feeling of walking on the empty streets, and felt a kind of bond to the people waking their dogs at this time. I went up the streets to the View, where Fati works as a nights manager. He offered me cup of coffee, and chocolate bread. We walked around the garden and enjoyed the view. After that I had Egyptian breakfast with Ashraf in Abo Aya restaurant. #egypt #hurghada

10 a.m.

I met Ashraf in Abo Aya restaurant for breakfast.

He is now 31, single, and he is the IT manager for schools. (He showed me a picture of busy cables) He traveled 20 cities in Egypt in his life and he now lives in Hurghada. He left his home when he was 14, because he had some troubles with his dad who was a strict engineer. He left his home in Cairo, and survived by working different jobs such as steel cutter, carpenter, putting dishes to connect to Satellite and finally IT.
“I just had to move on for food.”
He read books about Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Christianity.
“I didn’t want to blindly follow what my parents want me to believe in. It’s for my choice, I chose Muslim. I read books because they tell me where I should go, and what I’m doing.”

He earned money and paid school fees from middle school to college. To pay for his college he had to starve sometimes.
“I’m glad that I supported myself. That way I can be who I am.”

He became an engineer at age 22. He took big effort for him to not follow his dad and became engineer by himself. He contacted home once a year to say that he’s ok. And he returned home in age 22.

In 2011, revolution broke out. And he went out to the streets to demonstrate. He was shot in two parts in his both legs, and he had to stay in a jail for 2 weeks.
“I was lucky one. My brother was there for 3 months, and others are there to this day”
He worked for many organizations including the government, which helped him get out of the jail in two weeks. However, as a punishment he must stay in Egypt for 10 years.
“I did my best, I have no regret,” he says.

He was a motorcycle racer when he was 25. He stopped riding professionally after he had an accident. For his job, he then traveled other cities as a IT manager for schools. He established network, infrastructure for accounting. In international schools, he had to work with foreigners from US and UK, and he learned English. He is one of the best IT person you can find in Hurghada, and he works with 4 juniors. He stayed in 20 cities, some one year, some one month, and some one week. He liked Hurghada because it was calm. He didn’t like the noise in Cairo. Unlike Sharm El kish and Dahap, famous tourist destinations, Hurghada is much calm, he says.

J, I met so cool people in Egypt

Just like how I started my first hour in #marinabayhurghada , I spent my last hour here. I first didn’t take any pictures because it looked so commercial and far away from my mood. But on my last visit, now it had more meaning to me, because I have seen this place from faraway, on the beach and on the hill. With Fati we talked about boats and yachts. I thought about, what would it be like to sail with a boat to other country.

20:00

Last moments in #egypt . I took 6 hour bus back to Cairo. I came back to Grace’s house, and I told her about the journey to the southern cities. She prepared a Korean dinner for me. Before I go, she gave me a hand puff. She, her husband and Miyeon laid their hands on me and prayed for me. I was very touched and thankful. I felt that I’m precious to someone. Then I had a short sleep, about an hour and half in Miyeon’s room. Then I came to the Cairo airport with Uber. Since I mistakenly chose cash on my first ride, I had to give 10 Egyptian pounds - my last money- to the rider. I came with second driver. #sunset

Jan 18th 4:40 a.m.

I’m leaving Egypt now.

I really liked it here and I want to especially thank Grace for inviting me here.

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