Well our flight went smoothly and Cairo is a very busy city. The Egyptians have security down too. You can’t get into the hotel without going through several check points. The hotel is so fantastic; we have been able to spend the afternoon enjoying it. We decided to not venture out into the streets without a guide. We have seen the pyramids from the lounge window and it is an incredible sight. Our Egyptian guide told us that tourism is a huge money maker for Egypt so they really protect tourist. As Holly said above the hotel has security down plus we will have an armed guard with us on or tour bus. Our total tour group turned out to be 17 people, 4 were with us in Israel and we met the remainder here. I really like this place, men rule. We just came up from breakfast and they poured my coffee first, these Egyptians have the natural order of man down. The only downer is you can’t get a drink in any of the restaurants, however there is a bar on the 40th floor and last night we ordered a bottle of wine through room service and sat out on our balcony over looking the Nile and enjoyed the very lit up and colorful boats going back and forth. We are now leaving for the Pyramids.
Holly’s additional Facts learned in Israel
We walked the Via Dolorosa in the six days we were there. These are the Stations of the Cross. I always thought the Jews had some compassion in their heart and the reason they had someone help Jesus carry the cross and ended his suffering earlier than those that were left on the cross for days. Well, I was wrong – no compassion. It was against Jewish law to kill a Jew on the Sabbath and on that Friday afternoon it was getting very close to dark, so they had to hurry up. It gets dark around 5:00 pm. Now that I know more about Jews and especially Orthodox Jews, I am not surprised by their attitude. Absolutely, nothing happens on the Sabbath even with the more liberal Jews. Our hotel even had a special elevator for Shabbat, and no food is prepared that day. That means when you do get to eat again on Saturday after the three stars have come out, the food you eat was made on Thursday. I guess this is all part of a two thousand year old tradition. Our air conditioner in our room even had a Shabbat setting. Heavens knows what that exactly means.
Yesterday, Ziggy took us through the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. It was certainly not on the planned agenda, but I am so glad we did it. It was a real eye opener and definitely a culture shock. He explained that we would not be getting out of the car because, as he said, “Do you see any non-secular people here?” I think that means anyone who is not an Orthodox Jew. There was a huge sign about women must dress modestly or suffer consequences and since there were no soldiers there to protect us, we stayed in the car. We did take a lot of pictures from the car window when they were not looking directly at us. Ziggy said that men wearing the long black coats and heavy hat came from the Russian Jewish tradition and is the reason for the dress today. Even though in Russia is makes sense to wear a heavy coat, it doesn’t matter. So even in the 110 heat of Israel, the heavy coat is worn. Gray long coats are more “weird,” oh, excuse me, more radical. And if they had a gray coat and white socks- stay away from them. These are the most radical of all. They all have long dreadlocks for side burns and long beards. It has to do with the fact that they cannot shave because they may cut themselves. They of course also have the prayer shawl, so have long stringy tassels hanging out from their long sleeve wrinkled white shirts.
The Orthodox Jews do not work. They study the Bible all day from early morning until late at night and the reason I saw so many walking with prayer books. They have done this since early boyhood. They never study math or history or anything else. If they were forced onto regular society, they would have no clue on how to survive. The more children you have the more welfare you make. If you have up to eleven children, you are doing quite well. So you know what women study. Once a woman is married she shaves her head and wears a scarf. The idea is to be as homely as possible. You can tell it is an extremely poor neighborhood. Any news you need is printed on huge signs and lines the streets. Isn’t that what dictators have done for centuries. Keep the population ignorant.
When we asked Ziggy how most Israelis feel because they are being shot at to protect these people who do nothing to help. He was politically correct but you could tell how he felt about the Orthodox Jews and the Muslims too. Very interesting culture.