The story so far...part 1!
Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
7Trip End Nov 14, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
I have been trying unsuccessfully for days to find a computer with internet fast enough to load the editing tool necessary to post an entry on this thing.
So i guess you all want an update on what's happening with me and my ultra glamorous jet setting lifestyle. I'm in Egypt and have been since the 20th of September-you do the math because i have no idea what day it is.
First day was, predictably, a bit of a nightmare. Cairo airport is a shit hole. Baggage claim is full of piles of rubbish. The second you walk out of customs the leeches trying to get you to take their taxi/go to their hotel or whatever start harassing you. I was expecting this
Any way i ended up having to get a taxi to the hotel and was prepared to be ripped off so i said to the guy straight up-10 pounds which i now know is grossly underpaying him (the from the airport to Dokki where my hotel was is usually about 100 pounds...). Of course the guy looked mortified so we stopped and bargained and i was stubborn even though i had no idea what he should be paid i just decided 10 was a good number. Eventually we settled on 20 pounds. His name was Mostafa and he was crazy and loud and i liked him. He said to me 'gameela' which means beautiful in Egyptian Arabic and indicated my face which was the beginning of my experience of being hit on by Egyptian men young and old alike
Any how, hotel was a shit hole. The door didn't close properly which was very worrying and it had a beautiful view of a waterless pool full of rubbish and old cigarette butts. Classy. I spent a bit of time in my room watching bad Egyptian soap operas featuring women who need to scrape their make up off of an evening after showering. I ventured downstairs to have an older man who worked there show me the restaurant etc. He introduced himself as Shehadie and he seemed ok, awkward but friendly. I was hungry so i ordered some mousaka and some of the younger guys that worked there started to take an interest in me as well so i was showered with all this attention (more 'gameela' and this time 'i love you, white queen' which is interesting) and Shehadie gave me one of the fake flowers which i just thought was cute at this point and quite amusing
I'm happy to say that that experience was the worst thing that's happened to me the whole time i've been here and i'm glad it happened because now i know what the limits are when interacting with men here. You need to be friendly but firm enough to cut it short of what may be mistaken for flirtation
Any how, i was a bit shaken up but i forced myself to leave the hotel the next day and see Cairo. So I got a taxi to Khan El Khalili bazaar in what's known as Islamic Cairo. I went at 6:30am because i couldn't sleep and i needed to get out of the hotel so when i got there it was very dull, there was nothing happening and it took about 2 seconds for a sales guy to start with the 'gameela-blue eyes! i like you!' crap but this time i knew how to get rid of him and much to my delight i got to use the phrase "ishmee" which means go away. I said it wrong though so he laughed at me and corrected at me but then when i said it again and continued to walk and ignore him, he left. Long story short, i got lost and 2 old men took about 25 minutes out of their day to take me where i wanted to go and they didn't even ask for money aka baksheesh which is very unusual. It was very kind of them and they were hilarious so i didn't care so much when they said gameela and i love you etc. I decided to go across the road to the famous Al Azhar mosque but felt a little intimidated because there were no clear signs saying if it was ok to enter at that point etc and i didn't want to offend or intrude so instead i went to a local eatery called Gad which sells lots of nice, cheap Egyptian food so i bought Fuul with eggplant and Hummus with Egyptian bread which was beautiful and probably only a couple of dollars or so in Australian dollars. It filled me up until dinner too.
After that i got really, really lost and ended up walking through this cute little village and laughing with the locals at my complete lack of Arabic communication skills. I had to ask for directions to Al Azhar park about a million times before i found it (after, literally about 2 hours of wandering the city and walking with the crowds along highways)
Al Azhar park is a popular and vast, beautiful park built on what used to be essentially a centuries old rubbish dump inhabitated by drug dealers and homeless people. I sat in the shade there for a while and it was really nice. There were lots of couples and families there. A couple of kids said hi to me and asked where i was from and welcomed me to Egypt which is very sweet but as i have discovered, not unusual. Egyptians can be very intense but they are also very friendly and have a great sense of humour. I think Australians and Egyptians have a lot more in common than the average person would ever think. It was in Al Azhar park that i heard the muezzin (call to prayer) for the first time. It sounded soooo eerie and actually really comical because there were so many going at once (there is pretty much a masgid/mosque on every block) and the effect was hilarious.
The next day i went to Coptic Cairo which is the Christian quarter of Cairo via the metro which i was very impressed with because of its relative cleanliness and efficiency. Cityrail take note! Any way it was really great blah blah blah.
I'm so behind on my posts and i'm now in upper Egypt (South of Egypt down towards Sudan) in Luxor where it is incredibly effing hot. Like i am talking 42 degrees hot. It's insane. So i'm really not in the mood to give a thorough description from here onwards. I'll quickly skim over things now.
Day tour started i met Sharon who was to be my room mate for the tour and we hit it off right away so that's all good. I can't be bothered writing any more. I am melting.