Cairo - Pyramids,Pickpockets and Newspapers

Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
Trip End Apr 09, 2011

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Monday, November 1, 2010

Cairo, and in fact all of Egypt, cannot be described so much as a country but as an experience. It's a place rich in history but also as rich in complete and utter chaos. If Istanbul can be compared to Los Angeles, Cairo is without a doubt New York. Even at three or four in the morning the city is teeming with people. Rich and poor, shopkeepers, vagabonds and scam artists all crowd the city streets, and working your way through downtown is virtually pushing yourself through the masses. 

Being in a vehicle is even more of an adventure. I told several people while I was there that I loved the city because it is the traffic of LA, if everyone were to do their wildest roadrage  dreams. Want to drive on the sidewalk? Go the wrong way up one-ways? literally push cars that are smaller than you off the road? Drive at night without lights? You can do all of these in this city. Oh, and there is no car insurance, so no need to worry about premiums. 

This is especially true if you stay at the sorts of low budget places frequented by backpackers such a myself. I stayed on the fourth story of a building, and even that high we constantly had homeless finding their way up and poking around. (There wasn't really a "door" on the building, I  believe that helped that particular process). To add to the homeless, all forms of stray animals also took refuge in the building. One morning my breakfast sausage was stolen right off of my table by a stray cat, which immediately then vanished back down the stairs. 

Then there was touring. Oh, touring in Egypt. One major issue facing Cairo, like so many other impoverished cities that have come to be dependent on tourism, is that the local population has no other viable means of income except to beg, cheat, or steal from local tourists who come to visit the historical sites. Realistically, this equates to you very quickly learning their techniques and going into defensive and avoidance maneuvers. This is accepted, but to be honest their resilience and tenacity impressed me. When I come back to the states ask me about almost getting into a fist fight with a "tour guide."

But, chaos aside, the country is beautiful to explore and to be in. 

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