The first time we were in Cairo we stayed close to the pyramids. This time (as you’ve read in Caleb’s blog) we stayed right down town with the purpose of visiting the Egyptian Museum and the Children’s Museum. We were able to walk to the Egyptian Museum and spent a day there.
In the basement of the Egyptian Museum there is a Lego room for kids:
We also learned how to use the Cairo metro, which was a very economical way of traveling, and headed out to Heliopolis to the Children’s Civilization and Cultural Centre. One unique feature of the metro in Cairo is that they have “women only” cars. Apparently women were getting harassed and groped in the regular cars, so they introduced these “women only” cars. Women can also ride in the other cars, but if you’re on your own, these single gender cars are a great option. Hmmm. Not sure what that says about the culture.
The Children’s Museum was excellent! We ended up going back again a second day. We learned so much and it was completely interactive. Plus, there was a huge park outside the building, with a playground that the boys spent a few hours at. We were a bit confused at first, because you weren’t allowed to go into the centre on your own. You had to wait until a guide could take you through. Then you had to choose which floor you wanted to visit. There were 4 floors (not all of them were usually open) and you could only see 1 with your ticket. The guide would take you from exhibit to exhibit, show you how to play the games, or do the activity. No running wild through this place!
Staying in downtown Cairo was fine but I did feel more comfortable covering my head/hair. We saw no other foreigners and I felt it was better to respect the local customs. Of course, we still stood out like soar thumbs and everyone had a scam for us as soon as we set foot on the street. One man told us the Egyptian Museum wasn’t open yet so we needed to visit an art museum first (which turned out to be his buddy’s shop!). Another man asked where we were going and walked with us for 50 feet, then asked for money for helping us (even though we already knew how to get there and did not want his help!). We couldn’t trust anyone here. People would say, “don’t trust people that say X, but you can trust me” and of course, we figured it was just another scam! So sad. I missed the calm and quiet of the Luxor countryside!