After breakfast caught a taxi to Islamic Cairo. We wandered through the busy, twisting streets looking for Bab Zuweila (the only remaining original gate). We eventually found the gate, but the towers have been incorporated into a mosque, and we'd forgotten it's Friday - the mosque is closed to visitors until later this afternoon. Wandered through the streets to the Khan al-Kalili markets. Amy bought some perfume bottles as gifts for Touria and Lalamina and some lotus oil for herself, I bought a T-shirt ("Stella - that which does not kill us makes us stronger", Stella being the cheap "beer"...). Then we wandered into the proper market area - spices, meat, textiles, and perfume / incense areas. It was really nice because we didn't see any other tourist and it was obvious from peoples reactions that we were off the regular tourist track. Finished up the explorations back in the antiquities and crafts sections - definitely on the tourist circuit. The market where the inlayed wood work was done was particularly good. It was up some dark stairs in a courtyard up on the roofs - but it was also expensive and obviously regularly visited by tourist. We wandered by the mosque while prayer was going on - it was completely surrounded by devotees praying. Stopped for some very refreshing mango ice cream before catching a taxi back to Midan Tahrir.
We thought the Egypt Museum museum was closed from noon until two on Fridays, so the plan had been to get there right as it opened. When we got there at two though there were people leaving - so it looks like it was open all afternoon. We went in and wandered around - it was as wonderfully chaotic as I remembered it being. Great wooden cabinets full of intriguing treasures - and only occasionally labeled. Then I realized that there were tons of people coming in - apparently everyone thought the museum was just opening. Amy and I headed for the Tutankhamun collection to try and beat the masses. The collection was as beautiful and impressive as I remembered it, both from when I saw it in Los Angeles when I was a kid and two years ago here in Cairo. Unfortunately shortly after we got into the treasures room the tour groups started to arrive and it got uncomfortably crowded.
Tried to find Kenya Air's office so that I could cancel my tickets to Tanzania (since I ended up buying a ticket on the same flights Amy has) - unfortunately all the airline offices are closed (it's Friday). It won't be a big deal if I don't cancel the tickets as they're fully convertible, but I'm worried that they might cancel the rest of my itinerary as well. Amy headed back to the room, and I went and checked my email.
We'd been planning on going to Giza in the late afternoon to wander around the pyramids and watch the sun set, but it's been a very busy day with a lot of walking so we decided to put it off until we're back in Cairo after Tanzania and Malawi. So instead we went for a walk along the Nile and across to Gezira Island and then up to the ritzy Zamalek area. The plan had been to splurge and have salads at the Hard Rock Cafe - unfortunately after walking and searching for it for two hours we heard that it was still being reconstructed (after what?) I didn't terribly mind since I'd gotten to explore a new section of Cairo. We ended up eating at a recommended deli which surprisingly had great pizza and good cheese cake. Caught a taxi back to the hotel and packed and showered. We'd gotten the hotel for the night on the theory that we could get a nap before heading to the airport - but by the time I finished packing I had ten minutes - so much for the nap. At the airport got dropped off at the wrong terminal - for whatever reason our flight was not leaving from the Egypt Air International terminal. So we caught another taxi to the other terminal - only to end up at the wrong hall - luckily a short (and slightly nerve wracking) walk got us to the right hall (it was with a lot of relief that we found our flight posted on the electronic display). Shortly after take off I was sound asleep.