Okay, this is going to be a long post, because I actually went somewhere and did something today. Surprise!
Three friends and I headed downtown with the intention of visiting a few places that we hadn't been yet. Our cab ride from Zamalek was pretty interesting, because as our cab driver informed us, President Mubarak himself was downtown today. Doing what, we don't know, but the streets were covered with soldiers wearing uniforms with shiny shiny buttons and belt buckles, looking bored and not very protective, but threatening nonetheless. So that slowed down our drive a bit, but it was still really interesting to see.
The first place we walked to was the Abdeen Palace Museum. Basically it's a presidential residence, part of which is now a museum for awesome things that Egypt owns. The best part of this was the knife and gun collection, which was massively ridiculous. Ridiculous in that it included things like a pistol with four barrels and guns disguised as swords disguised as walking sticks and a jewelry box with doors that swing open to reveal guns in case of thieves. I simply cannot describe the amazing ridiculousity of this museum, so I'm not even going to try any more. I wish I could show you pictures, but no cameras were allowed inside.
Other rooms in the museum were filled with shiny things given to President Mubarak including a solid gold palm tree and a fighter jet pilot's helmet. On our walk through the museum grounds, we saw some Daleks, which was surprisingly freaky. Again, no pictures, but I swear. Daleks. (A gift from Davros and Skaro to President Mubarak, I presumed.)
After we left the museum, we headed by cab to a supposedly pretty garden, which turned out to be not very pretty at all, so we decided to skip it and get lunch. We went to Gad, a big Egyptian fast food place, where the food was cheap and good, but definitely not fast. Then we tried to visit a synagogue, but it was closed and the guards kind of laughed at us.
Then it was time to head to Khan el-Khalili to get some Christmas shopping done. First we went to a *blank* workshop, where we learned how to tell real *blanks* from fake *blanks*. I bought a *blank*.
Then we wandered for a long time, getting hassled and trying to make good bargains with not much success. It was fun, even though my feet hurt. (They didn't hurt as much as my friend's who had just climbed Mt. Sinai, though, so I'm grateful for that!)
After we had bought everything in the market proper that we wanted, we went to another *different blank* shop. The store owner was very nice and gave us good prices for two *blanks*. They were awesome.
It was about dinner time, so we walked a ways to find a famous sausage restaurant we'd heard about. It was called Zizzo, and the food was delicious and the service was great. For dessert we had some bread and cream and honey thing that was amazingly good. The best part of the night was learning that the gentleman we'd been sitting near was Mr. Zizzo himself. He was very nice and we complimented his food extensively. He liked that we were Americans, because I don't think he gets many foreign customers at his restaurant since it's a bit out of the way.
We took a cab back to Zamalek after getting some after-dinner juice, and went our separate ways. It was a really really fun and productive day, but I'm completely tired out, and my lungs kinda hurt from breathing in downtown air all day. It's totally worth it though: I bought some really neat *blanks*.
p.s. And I was also stampeded by cats in Khan el-Khalili. True story.