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"It is the journey which makes up your life."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Al-Hamdo Lilah, Things Get Better.

Day 1 in Cairo, I tag along with a group out to get mobiles and other necessities of life. The group split up and I ended up with two guys--Christer (Chris) from Norway, and Bob, from Sacramento. We attempted to find downtown Cairo where, we were absoulutely certain, there had to be a store that sold cell phones. We hailed a cab and asked the cabbie to take us to a particular intersection in Bob's guidebook that looked promising.

We quickly learned one of the most important rules of travel in Cairo--half the time, especially if you're a foreigner, cab drivers don't know where they're going. After driving us through regions unknown for a good forty minutes, we attempted to recheck with our cabbie that we were headed to the correct destination. The man spoke confusedly to us in Arabic, trying to suggest various popular tourist destinations that we might mean when we said "Tal'at Harb Street." Eventually we just showed him the map, he got out to ask for directions from passersby, then got back in the cab to drive us mysteriously around some more before dropping us on a random street that was closer to the dorm than it was to down town. We gave up on cabs at this point, and walked.

The most important measure of an adept Cairene is their ability to cross traffic unscathed. Less than 24 hours in Egypt and we were attempting to cross a massive highway interchange. Long story short, we made it mostly alive. Not too much in Cairo is scary after that. We did find cell phones.

The next day I came down with the "Pharaoh's Revenge" from what I suspect was a bad bowl of kushari, and had to go to the hospital. I had some relatively unusual symptoms, including a bad fever, shaking, and mild delirium. I suppose one positive end of that is now I actually know what it's like to have fever dreams.

24 Hours later I was back in the saddle (quite literally) with Bob and Chris, and we were off to the pyramids with another recruit, Greg, to take the camel-and-horseback tour, for 180LE apiece, which was a bit steep but worth it in the end.

I forget the names of our horses, but our camels were named Mickey Mouse and Charlie Brown (the tour guides are incredibly adept at appealing to tourists with snippets of their home culture. Our guide kept saying "aloha!" when he took photos of us, and we met many random people on the street who spoke bits of Norwegian, Korean, and Japanese).
We let ourselves be led around the pyramid complex for awhile, before being led, finally, to a perfume shop ambiguously affiliated with our tour guide, which we admired uncomfortably before leaving without buying anything.

All in all, a good day, even if I didn't get to eat anything.L-->R Me, Chris, Greg, Bob.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray! You've posted! God I'm so jealous. All I did today was spend ten hours in lab. Your pictures are beautiful!! Take care of yourself

8:11 PM

Anonymous Graham said...

Man, you're stuff here is really good. :)

1:22 AM


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