Mediterranean Cycopaths

Chaotic Cairo

26th February 2007 

A predictable title for this entry and I’m more than happy to oblige. We arrived in the Egyptian capital covered in dirt from head to toe (a dry day, so it was all pure smog and dust from the road) after fighting through heavy and wildy unpredictable traffic the entire way from Alex. If one single driver used mirrors or looked over their shoulder when merging into or out of traffic, then I didn’t see it.

Filthy and Gorgeous

Happy to be in Cairo (and out of the traffic)

Cyclists are generally ill-equipped to compete with their motorised road ‘sharing’ brethren so a bit of defensive riding goes a long way to ensuring safe passage, but that’s not always possible for a proud man like myself. I challenge anybody to cycle through that traffic without letting fly a gesticulative, expletive laden, panel slapping outburst every 10kms or so (except for Sean who seemed to manage it without any problems). I only hope it doesn’t adversely affect local opinion of my native New Zealand too much (I’m always a Kiwi if there’s any chance of negative publicity).

The various tourist touts in the city are a source of constant humour. While we fully expect that they all know someone from Cygnet in Tasmania and are therefore prepared to allow us special access to the Government papyrus shop which is having it’s annual sale for today only, some of the other attempts are downright insulting – not least of which is the “Psssst, Sssssssst” that many of them use to try to get your attention, as if they’re instructing a donkey.

Combatting them has become a sport of sorts. The look of confusion on their faces never fails to amuse when they are invited back to our papyrus factory, or you tell them in clear English that you don’t understand what they are saying and can they please repeat it in Arabic.

A previous visitor to the city, Sean took the opportunity to relax and recuperate for a few days, whilst taking in the Islamic area, while I, somewhat reluctantly, was obliged to run around and see the more mainstream sights of Cairo and the Nile Valley when all I really wanted to do was nothing (where’s that violin gone?). This resulted in a whirlwind trip to Aswan, Abu Simbel and Luxor, which I won’t bore you with, but will post a few pics. It was pretty spectacular.

So, after some spare parts finally arrived in Cairo, precipitating an unbelievably complicated collection at the Post Office (not going to go into details, we are both still shocked and appalled at the level of incompetence and bureacracy) we leave tomorrow, headed for Suez and Sinai.

Jon

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46593233@N00/

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February 26, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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