Had another lazy morning while Sarah was at school (seriously I could get used to this) then we met up to go to Khaled al Khalili, aka Islamic Cairo. We wandered through the narrow streets of the marketplace, which really looked straight out of Aladdin. Magic carpet not included. All jokes aside, the architecture was amazing, and we went at the perfect time for photos. I got some great ones, it really felt like I was transported back two thousand years!
We saw an open-air mosque, which they chastised me for not wearing a head scarf but let us in anyway, and learned they held school inside every day. There was a chalkboard built into the wall that was over 600 years old! They asked for money on the way out, which kind of goes against the idea of a mosque, I would think, but who knows.
The marketplace was buzzing. Apparently this is where everyone goes at night in Cairo! Really cool. On the way back, we passed by some locals eating a dish called Kushari, which Sarah explained to me, is rice, macaroni, lentils, fried onions, and tomato sauce. The Egyptian girls saw me looking at their food and offered to let me try some! I obliged, and they invited us to sit and have a bowl with them, so we did! Ola and Heda were cousins who live in Cairo, and they were very interested in talking to a Westerner to improve their English. They were so nice--they even paid for our dinner. After we parted ways, Sarah took me to this free show to see the Whirling Dervishes. It's a traditional Sufi cultural dance, where they play cultural music and this one guy turns on the spot for at least half an hour. He never falls, he stays on the same spot, and spins this huge colourful skirt around in different patterns the entire time, while portraying the story the singer is telling. I have no idea how he doesn't get dizzy. It was really impressive. It was in this open-air courtyard with ancient archways and great lighting. After taking my turn on stage (how could I not?) we headed back home for some Campari and sleep. I had an incredible time in Cairo, and wish I had longer! Alas, Europe is beckoning. Sarah was an amazing host, though, and I can't thank her enough for putting me up and showing me her city!