Group trip to Ain Sukhna March 5
Lunch was at a poolside restaurant at the hotel where we spent the day.
After lunch, we enjoyed a walk on the beach and a brief swim in the (very) cold pool.
Searching for shells along the water's edge (center) and a little beach yoga (right).  They do it in Yoga Zone, so why not?
Sunday morning our group went on a tour of Islamic Cairo, beginning in the Al-Azhar mosque
The group outside Al-Azhar, where foreigners (even non-Muslims) are allowed to enter any time other than during prayer.
The mosque is where many Muslims come to pray and to rest.  We saw a number of people sleeping on the floor of the mosque (below) and a group of Islamic scholars (lower right) meeting to learn about Islam.

Out of respect, we all removed our shoes and the women had to cover our heads like the Muslim women (far right).

During our tour of the old part of Cairo, we saw a number of these wooden-latticed windows that were created to allow the women of the house to sit on the balcony or at the window, look out on the street, and enjoy a breeze without being seen by outsiders.  I recently read the Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz, which was set in this part of Cairo, and describes the very conservative culture in Cairo in the early 1900s.  It was interesting to see these things first-hand and to get a Naguib Mahfouz women's view of the world (lower right).
On the left is a sabeel, or area where water was distributed to the public.  Living in the desert, water is precious and necessary for survival, so throughout history, providing water for people has been a way for people to give to those who are less fortunate.  In the past, a person would be inside the sabeel, passing water through the window.  Today, the concept still exists, but the sabeels consist of a rack of water jugs or a refrigerated water dispenser on the street.
In addition to the historical sites, we saw a number of typical Egyptian scenes, such as vast quantities of garlic and vegetables waiting to be sold.
Friday evening, March 11, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.  Standing on the roof, enjoying the view was a great way to end the week.  I guess all the pollution can be good for something!