Oscar the Grouch
Trip Start May 22, 2009
197Trip End Feb 16, 2010
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As much as it pains me to write this, it’s very dirty here. And after 6 months of cycling, living in a tent with only 4 pairs of underwear…my standards are not high!
Traveling on the train from Cairo (not the night train this time) I was able to see some more of the ‘real’ Egypt. Unfortunately, this was an Egypt covered with garbage. All along the sides of the tracks, mounds within the towns, and cascades trailing down the banks of the canals. Yuck! Try as I might, I looked for cattle with 3 eyes and 2 headed ducks, but thankfully didn’t see any.
However, arrival in Alex didn’t keep the fantasy alive for long. More trash in the already torn up streets. Receiving directions to our friend’s house included the landmark of: ‘turn onto our street when you see the two large overflowing dumpsters’! On the way I bought an orange and simply tossed the peel onto the road along side everything else that had landed nearby.
A city built along the Medeterranian has such a beautiful vista, but walking closer, you can’t help but notice all the garbage rising and falling with the waves. Lovers walk and children play along the water’s edge, stepping carefully over the broken glass and blowing bags. Are the people oblivious? Do they not see? Do they even care?
I don’t quite understand how a culture that so values the way things look can miss out.
But on the positive side, there are no hassling totes trying to sell me ‘garbage’. I don’t feel like a magical bank machine, and I don’t have to fight people off just to walk down the street. Instead, there are a few calls of ‘hellos’ and ‘welcomes’, strangers on the street will help without baksheesh, and children will shyly smile and wave behind the shelter of their mother’s skirts.