Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Visit to Al Azhar Park

We had the chance to visit Al Azhar Park today.  We went with a friend who has a son the same age as Cameron so they had a wonderful time together.  This park is a beautiful place, an oasis of nature tucked in the middle of this busy city of highways and buildings.  It cost 17.50 Egyptian pounds for the three of us to enter the park (about $3).

I was told that the park is affiliated with Al Azhar University, one of the oldest universities in the world and the oldest Islamic University, founded in 988.  Here is a link with more information about the university if you're interested:

The park is 74 acres and has magnificent view of the city.  It includes an 800 year old wall that runs 1.5 kilometers at the circumference of the park.  There's a nice website for the park if you'd like to read more:

Cameron loved the park because there were wide paved walkways perfect for his scooter and there was a playground.  We brought picnic lunches and had a lovely picnic on the hill in the shade.  Then, while the adults relaxed, the little boys sprinted up and down the grassy hill in delight.  (This is one of the few places Cameron has been able to run in grass since we got here so he was very happy.)
We met a Yemeni couple who was in Cairo on vacation.  They spoke a little English so we chatted for a bit since they were picnicking next to us on the hillside.  The woman asked if she could have her picture taken with me, so I asked her husband to take a photo with my camera too.  Here's the photo:

Jeff was at the playground where Cameron was playing when one of the kids there came up to practice their English with him.  The next thing Jeff knew, he was surrounded by kids who wanted to talk to him in English.  "Hey Mister!"  "What's your name?"  "You like Egypt?" "How old are you?"

Our friend who lives in Egypt left our picnic blanket on the hillside to go check in with Jeff to make sure he was ok with all the attention.  Jeff said it was an interesting experience.  Here's a picture of Jeff chatting with the kids.  It's quite common to have strangers come up to ask "How are you?" "What is your name?" or to just say "Welcome!"  They are all very nice about it and very welcoming.

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