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46 FOCUS - SEPTEMBER 2015 One of my favourite cities in the world to visit is Cairo Egypt. In fact it is one of the few cities where I could see myself living at least for several years. Full of historical significance this culturally-rich metropolis is the centre of one of the worlds greatest civilizations. The most well-known site is of course the pyramids at Giza which date back more than four and a half thousand years. I can vividly recall the very first time I set eyes on these monolithic landmarks. I was on a flight from Athens to Cairo after spending a week on the Greek mainland submersed in history. The flight was delayed and I landed in Egypts capital around ten at night. The door opened and we were greeted by armed sol- diers who walked us individually from the plane onto the tarmac. They had set up a desk with several soldiers around it looking as passengers deplaned. I was one of the first off and walked up to the heavyset guard who eyed me from top to bottom. I smiled and glanced at the gun bearing guards next to him and decided this would not be a time for levity. I handed him my passport and was told to wait until all the passengers had gone through the checkpoint. Our luggage had been taken from the plane and was piled in a big heap on the tarmac. Next we were instructed to get our bags and board a bus. From there we went through normal immigration and out into the busy streets of Cairo. I was amazed at the hustle and bustle of the city at 1 a.m. I was certain that all 13 million inhabitants were out and about. Donkeys pulling carts crossed where buses and taxis drove while bicycles tried to maneuver a safe passage between the mixes. I hailed a cab and made my way to Giza where I had the pleasure of staying in the 130-year-old Mena House Hotel definitely one of the best properties in Cairo. After a harried 45 minute drive I arrived checked in and headed straight for bed. My biggest and one of the best surprises of my life came the next morning. I woke early and opened the curtains. I stared in disbe- lief and felt a tear well up in my eye. There directly across the street stood the famous Sphinx staring at me as if to welcome me to his city. A bit further stood the three pyramids the largest the tomb of Khufu topped the other two majestically. I wasted no time and headed across the street to a camel compound not to be referred to as a camel-lot so I was told and made a deal to take one of the beasts up close to the giant tombs of the pharaohs. A few minutes The great pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo.The great pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo. CAIRO City of the Pharaohs