Officials here say tourism is down 30 percent. Not true; in Cairo at least, where museum guides claim it’s down 90 percent, tourists are nowhere to be found. Meaning, you get the best sights to yourself. Here are the top five in and around Midan Tahrir:
The Ministry of Magic
Don’t miss a trip inside this Soviet-era monument to bureaucracy. Most of the action happens on the second floor. Peek into the cubby-hole offices of officials sipping tea; peer through broken windows onto the garbage-strewn courtyard below; continue around the corner to, voila! Visa land. Squeeze through the corridor’s body press of foreigners. Spend sweaty hours negotiating inches of forward progress. Wave your passport and shout at people behind the 60-some windows. See workers plow through the stacks and stacks, thousands and millions of applications towering high on tables. Then, surrender your passport and watch it disappear.
Darth Vader’s Fortress
Finding it can be a bit tricky since it seems officially not to exist and getting close is difficult due to surrounding roadblocks. If you can slip past the sentries, you’ll find a spooky 18-foot blast wall patrolled by armed guards. Not a scrap of red, white and blue anywhere. Photos are forbidden. The location of the actual entrance is a bit of a mystery, but it doesn’t really matter: like Dracula’s manor, this is not the place to go for help.
Ignore the people outside throwing rocks. This is home to Egypt’s Public Broadcasting Service now protected by barbed wire and barricades from foreign agents paid to disrupt Egypt’s daily flow of news.
R2D2’s Mother Ship
Apparently crash-landed while trying to make off with a belly-load of artifacts from the days of yore when aliens inhabited Earth. Evidence inside includes dusty suspended-animation space-travel pods, and extra-high beds for weirdly shaped bodies. You pay extra to view some dead extra-terrestrials, but you can see their pets for free.
The NDP (Nameless Depository of Polls) Building
Burned for three days during the revolution after it was torched by CIA agents hoping to hide evidence of clean elections, so revolutionaries, tricked by Manchurian candidate Barack Hussein Obama, could bring down Hosni Mubarak, thus ushering in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and eventual Islamic Caliphate.