Repatriate Games



The Patrick Family* Goes to Cairo: The Best of the Rest

The Egyptian National Museum is humbling, at least it was for us as Rania (an Egyptian history major and government-certified guide) wove an extraordinary two-hour long tale starting with the copy of the Rosetta Stone (Shame on you, British Museum. You should return at least the Rosetta Stone to its rightful country.), and moving through the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms of Egyptian history.   Tsk Tsk to those who we observed using the audio guide to self-tour. Y’all missed out on some incredible history.

Out of sequence a bit, but certainly a highlight of the museum.  Anna Grace and I stood thisclose to the Gold Mask of King Tutankhamen! Photography was not permitted in this gallery (this photo is from the Internet), and the temptation to sneak a snap with our iPhones was only tempered by the guards milling about who would likely have yelled at us in Arabic for having done so.

The Patrick Family* Goes to Cairo: Khan el Khalili Souk

On our final day in Cairo, with Tony off doing his work thing, Anna Grace and I had great confidence that we could navigate the nearly 1.000 year old market without a guide. We have bargained our way through the souk in Sarajevo and the Grande Dame of markets, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, so we knew what to expect. (Though, because that was also the day the EgyptAir hijacking story was developing, we asked our driver to remain at the market while we shopped, as a precaution.)

Once upon a time Cairo was an Islamic, medieval walled city; today, three of the ancient gates remain, and it was through one of them that we began our adventure.

The Patrick Family* Goes to Cairo: The Alabaster Mosque

High atop a hill in Cairo sits an Islamic fortress, built in the 1100s to protect the city from Crusaders.

The Patrick Family* Goes to Cairo: Coptic Cairo

The afternoon of our first day was spent exploring Coptic, or Old Cairo and its medieval streets upon which sit Orthodox, Christian, Muslim and Jewish houses of worship. That people of different religions could worship peacefully together in ancient times made us wonder why it is so difficult in contemporary times.

The Amr ibn al-As mosque is Cairo’s first, following the Arab conquest of Egypt in 640 AD.  We had arrived at the call to prayer and so were not permitted to visit inside.

The Patrick Family* Goes to Cairo: The Great Pyramids of Giza

*Tony had organized a work trip to Cairo for a portion of the school spring holiday in the event that Anna Grace and I might be able to join him. Clayton Theodore’s favorite sitter was available, and so the holiday was planned.  Tony’s Egyptian colleagues arranged the accommodations for us and somehow Tony’s middle name became the Family Name in the registry, so for three days I was addressed as, “Madame Patrick.” I played my role well, forgetting only once and signing a spa receipt with my name and causing but a tiny kerfuffle that was quickly resolved. But more on the accommodations in our “upmarket” neighborhood later…

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