Cairo - arrival
May 26, 2010
Flying into Cairo was quite bizzare. Flying over the desert was quite amazing, endless expanse of yellow in all directions was quite surreal, and Cairo itself was quite bizzare, high rises everywhere then desert, no urban sprawl single level houses going out for kilometers, just high rise lego blocks then blank yellow. Wish I could have had a seat on the other side to see the pyramids from the air though.
Trying to find a taxi from the airport is... interesting. Straight past customs ten million people asking if you want one. Then you get outside.... and can't find a taxi rank. Wandered over to the drop off area to find taxi's dropping people off. I hail a white one (which I'm told are the ones which have meters) he picks me up drives a little way, then jumps out takes his keys and says i'll be back in a minute. Presumably he went to get another fare with me, screw that, I jump out again and finally spot a 'taxi' sign right over the far side of the carpark. Wander over, and low and behold there are some official looking taxis parked there! Hella difficult to find though. I paid 100 LE (~AU$25 - agreed on beforehand), which is slightly above average I'm told but it did have aircon and power windows and didn't break down in the middle of the road like my roomate for the tour's did. He paid 70. The driving itself an experience, but no doubt some towns in Europe will be similar. Lane markings might as well not exist and the horn is used in leiu of an indicator 9 times out of 10. Get to the Doki area where the hotel is, and the taxi driver starts pulling up and asking random people where the street is. Quite amusing, he did find it though! I was however late to the meeting with the tour leader, but I apparently made quite good time from the airport considering - most had already been here for a day or more.
Tour leader was quite good in giving us a little map of the hotels area, with a few supermarkets, net cafes and eateries. Being I hadn't had dinner yet I went for a wander after the meeting to the felafal bar he recommended. Little bit intimidating when you can't even see any letters or numbers you recognise though. While I'll make it there again before I leave I ended up chickening out and having KFC (no pun intended) However this was a 'community benefit' KFC, staffed exclusively by the deaf, meaning ordering is a combination of sign language and simple pointing. Got an equivalent of a Twister for 9 LE - or AU$2.50 - not bad at all, and on my way back to the hotel got complimented on 'walking like an egyptian' - which basically means throwing yourself into traffic.
Bed time no so this will be posted next time I get time to find a net cafe or wifi - Egypt, unsuprisingly doesn't have all that much in the way of free wifi.