Scotsabroad's Weblog

February 24, 2010

A Road Trip

Filed under: visits — scotsabroad @ 4:54 pm

Maps can be deceptive. We hired a driver today to take us to a couple of places in the Central Delta. Looked easy enough to get to El -Mansura and then to Mit Abu el-Kom, the birthplace of Anwar Sadat, not far from Tanta. Eight hours of driving with two breaks of about thirty-five minutes gave us a slow dose of reality. No time spent anywhere. Back in Cairo feeling nothing but numb.

We set off early this morning with Mahmoud and headed for Al-Mansura. I was very much looking forward to visiting the museum, once the house where Louis IX was imprisoned by the Mamlukes, and seeing artefacts from the defence of Mansura, the failed Crusade and a wonderful tableau depicting knights being reprimanded after the battle. We got there by about 10:30 am and were told the museum was shut for renovations and to come back in ten days. The contents had been removed so even getting inside was not worth negotiating.  A quick toilet stop and a drink at an unmarked hotel (with enormous mosquitos in the toilets) and it was another couple of hours drive to Mit Abu el-Kom. I had still not got round to briefing the family that one of our guidebooks describes the place  as, only worth mentioning as a footnote to bygone leaders (but not visiting) the village of Mit Abu el-Kom. We managed to get into the compound of the family farm but the place did not look open, or inviting to the public. We were discouraged to walk around the grounds as calls were made. We eventually got the guest quarters unlocked. Inside we were allowed to walk around looking at photographs and personal items belonging to the President. Saw the iconic pipes but not his backgammon board. His pyjamas and sandals laid out to touch. Got to see his Noble Peace Prize certificate. Signed the visitors book but left feeling somewhat let down. Another three hours back to Cairo. Don’t know who I will get to accompany me on another attempt at Mansura. If you’ve seen one buffalo butt in the back of a pick-up…



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