A little later, I met up with two friends and we walked around their neighborhood. They took me to an interesting place—a long, dimly lit room filled with about twenty TVs. I’m not even sure if there were any sources of light in the room aside from the TVs. A Playstation 2 was hooked up to each TV. And in each PS2, was FIFA ‘09. You wouldn’t even notice this place if you didn’t know where it was. It has dark tinted windows, no signs, and when my friends slid the door open, I thought they were opening a window. Super sketchy but I won one of the games.
During Saturday, I took a walk around Tahrir which is a central location of Cairo that includes the American University of Cairo campus, the Egyptian Museum, and the Mogamma, a massive building that houses thousands of government employees.
Saturday night, I went to my first concert in
The band was compromised of 3 lute players from around the world:
The benefits of working part-time means extended weekends. On Sunday, I woke up at 5:30 am. It was the start of what is sure to be many visits to Coptic monasteries. My aunt and I went on a trip organized by the local church to the Red Sea Monasteries which are also known as the Monasteries of
We went to
A church slightly off from the main monastery. It's still under construction.
The main church is in that complex next to the buses.
Dome of the entrance to the church
One of the many icons painted on the walls. St. Paul is on the right.
On our way out
As we left for
The monastery installed stairs that go up the mountain. 1158 stairs. I took pictures along the way:
Two 10 year old boys on the trip ran ahead, starting off the trek up. They weren't in the lead for long. Not that it was a competition.
Inspirational verses along the way though I did not have the patience to translate them.
[Quick technical note: I just realized how to resize pictures so they don't take so long to upload on 56k . Now larger (but smaller!) pictures for your viewing pleasure]
A small church about midway up the mountain so that you can pray you'll make it to the top.
These last three pictures are views from the entrance of the cave. The monastery looks oh so small from up here.
Once you finally make it to the top, you have to squeeze into the cave, entering with your side and ducking to avoid the rocks. Only a few people can fit inside and it’s definitely not for the claustrophobic. I heard stories of people making it all the way up without being able to go inside the cave because it’s too crowded. Luckily, I was the first one of my group to make it to the top and no one else was there from before.
The entrance to the cave where St. Antony stayed. That's one of the 10 year old boys. He didn't have to duck.
The path into the cave. The flash of the camera lights up the path but going in, it was very dark and we used light from our cell phones to kinda see ahead of us.
Inside there’s a small altar with a few icons. Behind the altar is a small stone which
Below are pictures of parts of the monastery itself. Also very beautiful. I might come back to spend more time here later in the year.
A church in the mountain. There's a gate (not pictured) that was locked so I couldn't go inside.
Carving of St. Antony into the mountain
Outside the altar of the Church of the Apostles
Altar of the Church of St. Antony. His relics are buried underneath the altar.
Just some of the Coptic art painted on the walls of the church.
On the way back to Cairo, the busdriver started driving in the wrong direction past a divider. As he was backing up to get on the right side of the divider, we heard a crunching noise and people in the back of the bus started screaming stop. I’m still not clear on how this happened but somehow the back door of the bus fell off. The driver sighed, took his wrench, and went to work. After a few minutes of banging, the bus was on its way and we eventually made it back to