Pink Eye, Stink Eye

Trip Start Oct 24, 2005
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247
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Egyptian Night Hotel

Flag of Egypt  ,
Saturday, November 20, 2010

We pulled into Ramses Station about 6:15am, right after I had wrenched my eye open -- the pink eye had definitely set in during the night. I never had it as a kid, when most people seem to get it, and I'm incredibly OCD about washing my hands and using hand sanitizer, but I've now contracted pink eye in three countries: Vietnam, Turkey, and Egypt. Perhaps I'm working on a new world record?

After getting off the train, we walked out of the station and down into the metro, which was surprisingly busy for such an early hour. Back at the hotel, they had messed up our reservation, but told us they would move us in the afternoon. We were disappointed in the room -- clearly the new bit on the second floor was way better. We slept a few more hours, then attempted to shower under the trickle of water in the bathroom (again, inferior to the second floor rooms). We waited to move to the new room, but it looked like it wasn't going to happen anytime soon, so we set out to Fela Fela for lunch instead. It was uber-busy, and after I had worked out the ordering system, we wiggled our way into a free space and tucked into our delicious koushary. Koushary is one of the Egyptian staples, and I imagine someone thought it up when there were bits and pieces left in the fridge and not much else to cook for dinner: it's comprised of lentils, rice, tomato sauce, and pasta. Not only is it fantastic, but it is also obscenely cheap: less than $1 for more food than one person probably needs for lunch. 

After our carborific lunch, we continued walking east, wandering through the back streets on our way towards Khan el-Kahili, the main souk in Cairo. We ended up on el-Muizz, one of the most beautiful streets in Islamic Cairo (I know, the name sounds a bit funny since the entire city is basically Islamic, but this area contains most of the older structures). We visited some of the mosques and other beautiful buildings on the street and then walked towards the souk.

Khan el-Kahili is extremely touristy, and ridiculously busy -- a bit more than we were in the mood to deal with. So we stayed on the outskirts of the market, buying presents for everyone and a few things for ourselves. Despite the fact that we weren't terribly picky, it still took a long time and we hadn't managed to find all the gifts we needed. But we were tired and decided to call it quits for the day, walking back towards our part of town. 

Back at the hotel we discovered they still hadn't properly sorted out a room for us, so we were staying in our old room for the night -- a depressing thought that propelled us out of the hotel and into a very smoky French restaurant where we had dinner and a few beers. The smoke eventually got to be more than I could take, landing us back in the room and into our single beds to curl up by ourselves for the night.
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