Indulgent travel post ahead!
Today I am taking a break from my life in Singapore posts to tell you about a trip I took last week to Egypt and Dubai. A friend of mine from my MBA program was getting married in Egypt so a few of us Canadians headed over for the wedding. From Singapore, it was quite a journey to get there (almost 24 hours of travel), but I was happy to go!
The wedding was in El Gouna, a small resort town right on the Red Sea. The town has been primarily developed by one of Egypt’s richest families, and is a getaway for Egypt’s elite. Don’t believe me? On the weekend we were there, El Gouna was hosting both a squash and polo tournament. On our first day, the bride and groom organized a boat party in the Red Sea for all of the young people attending the wedding (80 of us on 6 boats!). The wedding itself was a fun dance party on the beach that lasted until after 4am. Otherwise, we explored town, ate some incredible seafood, relaxed by the water and enjoyed the resort’s amenities. It was a great place to start my time in Egypt.
From there I travelled to Cairo, to see the star attraction in Egypt – the Great Pyramids of Giza. It’s hard to describe the scale of the pyramids and reconcile that they were built 3-4 thousand years ago. The pyramids were built as tombs for kings, with preparations and construction beginning as soon as the king ascended to the throne (the largest pyramid in Giza took approximately 20 years to build). Historians believe that the pyramids were constructed by farmers during the rainy season (when the Nile flooded their fields), providing them with income in the offseason. There is very little to see inside the pyramids, as the tombs themselves are very small as compared to the enormous size of the pyramids.
The next day I headed to the Egyptian Museum where you can see relics from the age of the pyramids as well as the mummified bodies of past rulers. It’s eerie and surreal to see mummified remains that are thousands of years old (to mummify a person, their internal organs are removed and the body cavity is filled with salt). The Egyptian Museum is also home to the contents of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. King Tut was a relatively insignificant king (only ruling for 10 years, from age 9-19), but his tomb is significant because it was discovered entirely intact. Many (most) tombs have been looted over the years for the gold inside, so discovering an intact tomb was incredibly important in the quest to understand burial traditions from this age.
I headed next to Dubai (mostly to break up the long journey back to Singapore). Everything in Dubai feels shiny and new, and it provided a stark contrast to Cairo. In Dubai I toured the main tourist sites, from checking out the views at the top of the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), watching the show at Dubai Fountain (the world’s largest choreographed fountain system) and even skiing at the Mall of the Emirates (the world’s largest indoor ski hill).
Now it’s back to work in Singapore, with a few more fun things coming up this month! Stay tuned…