I hate bargaining. I want to ask a price, be told what it is, and decide if I want to pay for it. It’s a personal thing. I understand that it’s cultural to bargain. Some people love to bargain. Heck, my mother will bargain at Macy’s. Luckily, those people were on my trip and they could bargain for me at the shuks.
The streets of Israel and Egypt are lined with outdoor shopping called ‘shuks’. Personally, I found the ones in Israel to be full of touristy stuff that I didn’t really need to bring home. Visually, it’s more than an eyeful.
Need a pot, coffee maker, dates or olives?
They tried to get me to buy this for ‘going to disco’. I briefly considered it for Halloween. But, thought better of it.
Spices! How cool is that??
Costume jewelry and leather goods in the shuk. The jewelry is made in the Bedouin style. Using coins and semi precious stones and beads.
Pomegranate juice making inside the walls of Old City of Jerusalem
This last bit is from Egypt. During ancient civilizations, only the kings and queens could have their names written (in hieroglyphics) in a circle. The circle symbolized eternal life or reincarnation. I had this one made for about $20 with my name (not that I believe in reincarnation but, it looked pretty cool).
I flew into Luxor at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday and was again out the door by 9:00 a.m. for sightseeing and work meetings. I don’t remember much of the sites. I’m sorry. I was so tired at this point I was pounding back Turkish coffee like it was water. And it was hot. Miserably hot. Estimates were 105 to 110 degrees. Israel was pleasant and warm, mid 80s. This, was an oven.
So quickly, Luxor has two thirds of the antiquities in Egypt. What is in Cairo is nothing in comparison. It’s known for it’s temples built by the kings. The temples were only used by the royal family. They were gilded with gold on top so ships coming in would see that there was temple and the land was protected by the various gods.
There are loads of cool hieroglyphics. It’s also pretty obvious where the design for the Washington Monument came from.
To give you a sense of scale, that’s me standing next to a broken obelisk. It’s huge.
Don’t worry dedicated sewing readers. I have maybe two or three more posts about my trip and then I’ll be back to my fabric, sewing, vintage machine obsession.
To be honest with you, I was so busy leading up to my trip that I didn’t focus too much on the Egypt / sightseeing portion. I got in to Cairo around 3:00 a.m on Friday morning and was out the door at 8:00 to do the tourist thing. And let me tell you, it’s AMAZING!!
The three ‘main’ Giza pyramids are so much bigger than I imagined. Almost 400 feet tall! That’s me on the sitting on just the first level. Each block is almost as tall as I am. The other shot is trying to shoot up the pyramid.
You can of course also buy cheap and tacky gifts about five feet away from the Giza pyramids. That and KFC and Pizza Hut. I’m not kidding. I don’t have a photo but the tourism side didn’t keep up with the development side in Cairo. So apartments, stores, banks and restaurants are in viewing distance and less than 1/4 of a mile from the pyramids.
Then again, it’s so ancient and old I guess you get used to it? I feel like I remember things being really close to to sites in Florence too.
This little pyramid (on the right) behind the main three was built for a pharohs wife to be buried with him. This way when he crossed over, he could take her with him.
I cannot express to you how neat it is to see something like these pyramids. Wait until you see the temples and sphinx avenue from Luxor!
For once, I showed some fabric shopping restraint. Between travel time and work, I really only had about two hours in Cairo to seek out the world famous Egyptian cotton. While I was making my way down to the Wikalit al -banah market where I had seen stalls upon stalls of fabric to be had, I stumbled across this:
Yeah, that’s right, a Burda fabric store!! It was a few streets away from my hotel. It was a thrill to buy some gorgeous wools at $5 a yard! So, I got just three pieces and called it a day for my fabric shopping.
After this little purchase (pink/grey herringbone, slate blue windowpane plaid and a coordinating solid blue), I decided to skip the market.
Shay, I didn’t make it out to Na Cha lot /Benyamin St in Tel Aviv. My flight was moved up several hours and there just wasn’t enough time after flying back into Israel from Cairo 🙁
Between the three pairs (yeah, that’s right, three) of boots I bought in Israel and other clothes from Egypt, I honestly didn’t have any more space in my luggage.
On another note, did you know that Arabic numbers are different than our Latin based figures? I had to go shopping with a cheat sheet to figure out what things cost!