Saturday, March 21, 2009

Funkengroovin - Day Two - Mid-day, Bibliotheca Alexandrina

After fleeing the fish market, we took a taxi to the Library of Alexandria, aka Bibliotheca Alexandrina. We had tried to visit in October, during our Eid visit, but it was closed for the holiday. Today, it was packed. When we arrived, two gatekeepers informed us we needed to buy tickets, and turn in our bags. The tickets for "Foreigners" cost 10 LE each. We turned in our bags, and received a numbered retrieval card for the bags. There's no problem with cameras, though.

Outside the library was packed with what appeared to be students.

Once inside, the library looks awesome. Number One Son said, "Oh, this is a real library." No shit Sherlock. The Main Reading Room looks like an auditorium with various levels of tables, books, and displays. There are even more, upper levels, to the right.

Some of the displays are of old printing devices.

After touring the Main Reading Room, VB spotted the Espresso Book Machine room. WTF!? According to Wikipedia: "The Espresso Book Machine (EBM) is a printing press that will print and deliver physical books within minutes and works much like a soda vending machine. The result is the print on demand principle, but without a publisher directly involved. The machine is an invention of the On Demand Books company."

On we went into a display area containing old photos and lithographs of Alexandria.

There are more exhibits on the same level. After going through several rooms of various exhibits, we arrived back at the information desk. We picked up what was called "a map," but is really just a brochure outlining what's on the different floors of the library, memberships, and a "how to" section. Beyond the information center, are sculptural displays, some of which are shown here.

And back at the main entrance, is a sculpture that can be seen outside the main window.

We retrieve our bags, and decide we need a Starbucks, so we hop a taxi, to the Four Seasons Hotel (or as our driver finally realized, "Aahh, Khamsa Saison"). On the way, we followed a VW Bus, getting up close and personal, then we were left in it's dust.

Now, for some coffee at Starbucks.

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