Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Knapps

We met the Knapps toward the end of our journey. We attended church at the only branch of the LDS church in Cairo. It meets on Friday mornings for two hours. Anyway, we were talking to a member of the Branch Presidency, Eric Knapp, and found our we were related through Jesse N. Smith and even closer through Joseph West Smith. From that point on, he and his wife Dorothy sort of adopted us for the remainder of the trip. The took us tons of places and showed us a side of Egypt we may never have seen otherwise.
After church and a big dinner at some humanitarian missionaries' house, the Knapps took us through a place called Garbage City. I actually don't have pictures of it because we were driving right through the streets and there were people everywhere looking at us. Dorothy said she'd taken pictures before and they'd thrown garbage at her. Anyway, Garbage City is a whole little city and sorts through Cairo's garbage and recycles what they can for money and uses and repairs things. They also make treasures out of trash, such as taking rags and clothes that have been thrown away and making them into rugs and other things. It wasn't the best smelling place I've ever been, but it was cool. We drove through Garbage City and came to an awesome Christian area. There were tons of carvings on the walls of the mountains.
This is the entrance to a Coptic Church there. The Coptic Church is the largest Christian church in Egypt.
I have tons of pictures of all the carvings, but I'm just posting a few. I loved this one of the 10 commandments in Arabic.
This is inside the church. It was like a giant cave and was really cool. If you look to the back walls you can see that there are carvings there as well.
We also drove by the City of the Dead. The City of the Dead is a 4 mile long cemetary where people also live and work - maybe to be close to their ancestors. It really stands out in Cairo because they're all one story buildings were the rest of Cairo stands pretty tall.
The Knapps then took us to a big 4th of July celebration that was put on by people in the US embassy. It was free and all you needed to get in was a US or Canadian passport. They had hamburgers and hot dogs and all sorts of entertainment. Eric Knapp bought us these Marine t-shirts which have become our trip t-shirts and had us pose with the Marines who sold them to us.
They had the flags from all 50 states hanging around the covered area. We had to get our picture by the Arizona flag.
We then joined Katherine for a photo with the Texas flag. We had to since the Knapps started calling us the Texas Trio!
They had a humongous cake there. It was actually pretty tasty!
There was a great jazzy band playing and during the breaks they played some classic American songs. At the end, they played "Proud to be an American" and we were belting it out here. The guys in the picture are some friends we met that are from Westpoint Academy and are out in Egypt learning Arabic. They were very nice.
We got this picture with us, the Knapps, and another guy from the branch named Will just as we were leaving the party. It was definitely a unique and fun 4th of July. The sad part was that there were no fireworks! :(
After the party, the Knapps took us to the 4 Seasons for some delicious ice cream. It was a lot of fun!
After our short trip to Alexandria, Dorothy took us out to the Saqqara and Dahshur pyramids and then we all went on a dinner cruise on the Nile. We went on this boat called the Maxim and it is run by Marriott. It was super nice.
They gave us the best seat in the house. We were front and center to the stage. They started off with a small band and some lounge-type singers. Then, the big band came out. It was very cultural with some awesome drums and wooden flutes. The music was INCREDIBLE. That's also when the dancing began.
The first and most amazing dancer was a Sufi dancer or "Whirling Dirvish." He spun for at least 20 minutes without stopping while doing various little stunts. It was very cool to watch.
After the main part of his performance, he walked around while spinning part of his skirt and got his picture with people. Katherine was lucky number 2 and after this picture said our favorite quote of the trip, "I've been whirling dirvished." I don't know why but it really struck us funny.
They had a belly dancer as well. I was going to stick on some video of her dancing but . . . it didn't quite seem appropriate. She was posing by people after her dance as well. She was actually dancing right behind Katherine for a bit. Wow!
They had these two guys that danced as well. It was a little weird. We think they called them belly dancers as well, but we were really glad they didn't show their bellies. They pulled Susannah up to dance with them. She did really well. They tried to get Katherine and I up there but we were too chicken.
The night before we left, we went on a felucca ride on the Nile. They're just boats you can rent for about 30 EP an hour which ends up being around $6 an hour. It was very relaxing and a perfect way to end our trip. The Westpoint boys came with us too.
We sailed for a couple of hours and watched the sunset. It was beautiful.
I snapped one last picture of the Knapps. We love them! There was another family from the branch there, but I didn't get their pictures. They're a cute family. The father works for the FBI at the US embassy. Pretty cool.
And here we are - loving our last night as the Texas Trio on our amazing vacation!


Steven said...

I'm so glad I have friends who travel -I've enjoyed taking mini tours to all the neat places you went! Your blog is awesome, by the way.

kristal said...

Um, that belly dancer has some huge, uh, thanks for not posting the video. The inside of that church is awesome!!! I'm slowly getting over my jealousy of your trip. The Knapps seem almost as cool as the Mulders.

Idaho Bushmans said...

you always see to have the best summer trips. I love your pictures.

123checkoutthefamily said...

Wow, ya'll have had some neat experiences. I'm sooo jealous! I think it's pretty cool that you found some ancestors and got the hook ups. Thanks for sharing so many fun's the next best thing to being there in person.