Pyramids and desert
Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
50Trip End Jul 21, 2007
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We had been warned by other travellers that Cairo was dirty and polluted, however our first glimpse of the city is surprisingly pleasant: big avenues with dated elegant 6 floors buildings. The place is buzzing with life and anarchic traffic. Shenouda kindly takes the Metro with us to show us the way to our hotel: the Metro which has two lines at present was built on the Parisian Metro ( tickets, benches, gates look like their Parisian counterparts!) and is an efficient and reliable mean of transport. We decided to check in a hotel recommended by fellow travellers; the staff was nice but the room infested with mosquitos: an opportunity to use again our mosquito net...
Hate it or love it, Cairo cannot leave you indifferent! Noisy with traffic and continous honks (indeed, every driver honks to warn other drivers of their presence), crowded with people everywhere, the city lives day and night. Many women are covered up from head to toe (with socks and gloves by 35°C!) which contrasts with the number of shop windows filled with underwears and sometimes kinky ones! People are friendly and "Welcome to Egypt" is the usual greeting we will hear until our departure from the country.
Stuck in a tourists trap at the Pyramids
Excursion into the desert
The next day we set off for three days to Baharya, the closest oasis to Cairo (4-5 hours away by bus),
The real Cairo experience: riding a taxi
Back in Cairo we use our 2 last days to visit the Egyptian museum and Cairo's Islamic quarter and bazar. This was the beginning of Ramadan so many businesses were doing short hours. We had to rush through the Egyptian museum in three hours (however even Saoyuth who is fond of antiquities was bored after the 50th sarcophage. Tutankhamun's room is a must!).
Unfortunately time had come for us to leave Egypt. It would take at least one week to make Cairo justice so if you are planning a visit to Egypt, don't overpass this city.
To close the chapter, we would say that Egypt is full of wonderful monuments but this is the friendliness of its people that we will remember the most. Of course there will always be con men and people asking backsheesh for about anything from showing you something you didn't ask for or just to give you a piece of loo roll in public toilets...however Egyptians are pleasant and always ready to have a good chat with you.