Doors to Beyond – II

Cooper Hewitt – Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Nine Pyramids, Cheops, the Sphinx, Museum and the Wonders of the Ancient World

Egypt was always on my itinerary – always. I read Elizabeth Peters and her heroine, Peabody made me fall in love with everything that is ‘ancient Egypt’. I grew out of Peters but the love remained. A love that was attained in the past few days – although only a bit.

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Pyramid of Khafre

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Pyramids of Khufu (left, also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza) and Khafre (right). Although Pyramid of Khafre seems to be taller, it is actually built on slightly higher ground giving it that illusion.

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The smaller pyramids of the queens

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Pyramid of Menkaure with the smaller pyramids for the queens on the right

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So how does a four day trip to Cairo look like? How does one experience thousands of years old civilization and its remnants in just four days?

One thing is for sure, it is not enough. It is but a tasting, an appetizer course, of what may come later.

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Entrance to one of the three pyramids for the queens (behind the Great Pyramid of Giza).

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Some instructions written but not necessarily followed.

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Tour on horseback

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A solitary horse cart and its driver. It almost seemed we were back in time by few decades.

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At least someone was enjoying the sun

 

So the four days were spent as follows – three days with Memphis Tour doing day trips to the various sights and one day with family and visiting one of many new and upcoming malls in Cairo.

And the first trip, of course, to The Pyramids of Giza, The Sphinx (it’s right there), and the Egyptian Museum (Pharaoh Tutankhamen exhibit is not to be missed).

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The mummification chambers

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The sun is brutal, the weather hot and the desert sand does not help but the jaw dropping wonder when looking at the Pyramids the first time – worth every ounce of effort and discomfort. There are somethings that pictures can’t capture, and the words cannot describe – they must be seen and felt. The grandeur, the brains, the mathematical genius, people who built it and died in the process, the moving of the humongous pieces of granite and alabaster to built these structures, the vanity of the powerful, the helplessness of the same powerful in the face of death, the rise and fall of empires – all thoughts and feelings that pass through the mind when the structures first come into view. I don’t believe the awe will lessen at the second or any subsequent viewings.

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Ramses II

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Pharaoh Khafre

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Outer tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun

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Chariot found in the burial chamber of King Tut.

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Canopic jars found in King Tut’s tomb

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Pictures in the Header – Germany

The picture is from the ongoing Mini exhibition in the BMW museum. Things that I learned today:

1- BMW initiated as the makers of fighter plane engines and motorbikes

2- BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke

3- Not a very old company (the first car was introduced in the 1930’s) – but definitely The Ultimate Driving Machine

4- No visit to Munich should be complete without a visit to the BMW museum

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The Golden State – California – Day 3…

… Finally! Reached San Diego, the final stop of our trip – and good internet connection.

Day 3 in California was spent visiting the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. http://www.computerhistory.org/. For those who are interested, Google’s global head quarters is almost right behind the museum.

It is the perfect place to time travel down centuries of discovery, adventure, progress, use, development, and refinement of mathematics, logic and computers. This is great – but a bigger greatness lies in the fact that the road has not ended, it goes on into the coming future, and just like the past journey, the coming is envisioned by the gifted few, discovered and refined by many and benefits or is used by the entire human race. Humans are powerful for the reason that they can think.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay.

It is interesting that for me the history and the people involved mattered, for the three boys (husband included) the technology was captivating – we each benefited from the displays in our own way.

Charles Babbage Computing Machine.

Charles Babbage computing machine. Only two remain in the world.

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Fairchild Notebooks

Fairchild Notebooks

Fairchild Notebooks

Fairchild Notebooks

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IBM 1401 demo lab.

Display in the museum's store.

Display in the museum’s store.

Stanford University was next but we did not do the tour as planned. Instead we came back to San Francisco and took a cable car ride (http://www.sfcablecar.com/) and walked down Sacramento Street towards Chinatown. The road down, from the end of the cable car ride, has some really beautiful buildings in the Nob Hill area including some high end hotel chains like Fairmont (where the president stays on his visits), Ritz Carlton, Pacific-Union Club (which to this day grants memberships to men only), and the Grace Cathedral (where the movie Sister’s Act was filmed – I have not verified this on my own).

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A building on the corner of Market and Drumm streets - waiting for the cable car.

A building on the corner of Market and Drumm streets – waiting for the cable car.

The cable car.

The cable car between Market Street and Van Ness Avenue – there are two other routes.

The road of our ride.

The road of our ride.

Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Pacific-Union Club - an exclusive all men club.

Pacific-Union Club – an exclusive all men club.

Light poles outside Fairmont Hotel.

Light poles outside Fairmont Hotel.

Down towards Chinatown, browsed some of the shops and my son got a Maneki-neko (the beckoning cat – which is considered to bring good luck to the owner in the Japanese tradition). Dinner was Mediterranean food from Oasis Grill II (http://oasisgrill.com/) on Drumm Street (Embarcadero) – delicious!

Chinatown.

Chinatown.

The one thing that I would love to do on my next visit is a walking tour of Stanford – it is a beautiful campus.

We took it light as all of us where a little tired with our 10 mile biking trip the day before and we had a long drive to Pismo Beach the next day. All in all, a happy stay in San Francisco 🙂