Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama Visits the Pyramids

Of course, you can't go to Cairo without seeing the pyramids. Yawn. You've seen them already, I assure you. Only in the books and postcards, they make sure to take the pictures at an angle so you can't see the Pizza Hut and the rest of the sprawl that runs right up to them.

He took a tour of Sultan Hassan mosque, which is okay, I guess. By which I mean BOOOOORRRRING. He should have gone to Ibn Tulun, which is truly one of the great treasures of human endeavor. I suppose the location might have played a role. Security would be pretty tricky in the heart of Khan al-Khalili.

4 comments:

Elephantschild said...

My word, it's Waterstreet with the scent of cardamom.

Evan said...

I think you would really love Khan al-Khalili. It's just the most incredible collection of stuff you could possibly imagine. And if there's something you can't find, all the alleys surrounding it are full of craftsmen who can make it for you.

Elephantschild said...

So here's a question. The guidebooks stay that Egypt is pretty progressive and that American women don't have to be too terribly concerned about wearing skirts and covering hair and such.

But I wonder; should I head into Khan al-Khalili, what would YOU recommend I wear?

Evan said...

Yeah, you'd be okay in Egypt wearing a sensible everyday outfit. You definitely want to have your legs covered and at least have some sleeve, though. What's the point of needlessly drawing attention?

Beyond that, though, conforming to their norms is a demonstration of respect. The girls in our group definitely reported that people were more open and friendly when they simply met local norms: legs covered to the ankle, arms to the wrist, and some token head cover.

By the same token for men, even though young Egyptian men all love their tight jeans and shiny synthetic shirts, slacks and a button-down shirt is your best bet to be taken seriously.