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  • Writer's pictureErin Nixon

June 15: The Citadel and Al-Azar Park

I love Fridays.

I love them even more here, because they are like Saturdays at home...yay days off... I got up at 10:30 this morning and ate breakfast like a lazy bum. It was really nice not to have to run to class.

At around noon, Meg and I went to meet Sid and Phillip to find a stationary store and to go to the Metro market for groceries. Meg, Sid and Phillip had lunch, then we walked to the stationary store, which was closed, then Meg and I went on to Metro.

I bought some more meat for my lunches and Sprite, and even bought a can of Mt. Dew (not that I'm going to drink it) because it has "Mouwntan Dewh" in Arabic. The translations still crack me up... After that I came back to the apartment to unpack everything and have lunch.

Meg and I took a taxi to Medan Tehrir to AUC to meet Romany. Meg said she wanted to "inspect" him, whilst she hunted down a stationary store. They were closed, and Meg went back to Mohandseen while Romany and I took a taxi to the Citadel.

The Citadel is a fortress that was built to protect Cairo. It's situated on the mountains overlooking the city, and there are several mosques inside the walls. Romany and I walked all around it, and went into two mosques, the An-Nasir Mosque and the Muhammad Ali Mosque (the one that appears in most of the pictures of the Citadel) I got some great shots, and since Romany insisted on taking a lot of pictures, I'm actually in quite a few of them.

After that we took a taxi to a Christian Monastery dedicated to St. Peter. We had to drive through what looked like a very poor part of Cairo that smelled really bad because they burn the city garbage there. I felt bad until the taxi driver told us that they are some of the richest people in Cairo. They get paid a lot of money to do all that really gross work. Enough that I saw several really nice cars there.

The monastery is carved into the side of a mountain...literally. We got to see the guys that are still carving there. Most of the monastery was closed up, because it was already 3 or so, but we still got to walk around and get some good pictures. There are carvings all over the mountain face with Bible verses and painted carvings of scenes from the Bible. Just amazing.

After that we took a taxi to Al-Azar Park. It's this huge, oasis-like place in the middle of all the dirt and concrete of the rest of Cairo. So beautiful... We walked around, and got to see a little bit of it. It had this really pretty overlook that we sat at for a while, and got some more pictures of the Cairo skyline.

By that time I was exhausted from walking around Cairo in the afternoon sun. You never realize how bad being out in the heat can make you feel until you seem to be taking deep breaths all the time and trying to inhale bottled water...

We took a taxi back to Medan Tehrir and had some juice in a little coffee shop. After that, I headed back to Mohandseen and collapsed in my room. I'm so exhausted, and tomorrow we are going to the Egyptian Museum for several hours.

I need sleep.

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