Dodging traffic and slum fires in Cairo

Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
Trip End Sep 26, 2010

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yes! This is it mate. The very last stop on my 293 day world tour. I can't believe it is almost over! I am exhausted after not sleeping for the better part of two days so after we arrive Alex and I take a quick look around the streets of Cairo. We settle on an extremely delicious non-Egyptian meal at Pizza Hut. Then I crash out. I am ecstatic to be finished with all the bus rides.

We don't waste any time here. Pyramids as soon as we wake up in the morning. It takes about 30 minutes driving through the manic streets of Cairo to get there. Then they just sort of appear from behind some buildings as you approach the outskirts of the city. Pretty amazing and awe-inspiring. Unfortunately there is a lot of pollution and smog in Cairo, so there isn't a crystal clear blue sky backdrop to make them even more stunning. Alex and I spent some time at the Great Pyramid climbing up for pictures, evading guards with whistles, and evading the scam artists. I managed to get a picture of a guy on his camel with the Great Pyramid in the background. Win! After kicking around there for a while we moved on to the smaller second pyramid. We went inside this one and it was pretty cool. Cool as in interesting. Hot as in stuffy. It was like a sauna inside and it sure didn't smell very nice, but when you're in Cairo, you go inside the pyramid. This is just what you do. It was quite tricky and difficult to maneuver down the passageway inside especially for a tall guy like me but I managed to do it and came out relatively unscathed. The only injury was a ripped-in-half fingernail. Do I sound like a girl much? Yes, yes I do. No cameras were allowed inside but everyone seemed to produce one out of their respective pockets once inside and the security guard in the burial chamber was awesome enough to actually take pictures for people. Classy move security guy. Nice one. After we emerged back into the sunlight we moved on to the Sphinx. It wasn't quite as big as expected but still pretty neat. Tourists, tourists everywhere.

I'm very burnt out from all the traveling at this point so I don't do much the rest of the day, just a nice dinner with some of my traveling buddies at night.

My last day in Cairo I was lucky enough to meet up with some old friends. Doris and Katherine from way back in Healesville ( just randomly happened to be in Cairo at the same time as me and we both had free days on Saturday so we met up and had some nice lunch and drinks and then decided to hit up Khan-El-Khalili market with Alex in tow. We all picked up a few small things we were looking for and wandered around before trying to find some tower called Bub Zawalya which I heard had a nice view. We got out of the tourist market quickly and were soon in the part of the market only locals used. A local Egyptian man quickly befriended us and agreed to show us where the place was but not before a few stops at some local shops he knew (read:his brothers shop) but it was good fun and he wasn't too pushy and he showed us some cool things and it cost us 2 bucks for 30 minutes of his time. We also got to witness a fire break out in the marketplace and tons of locals from nearby shops running to help out so their surrounding shops wouldn't go up in flames as well.

We eventually found the tower after our friend pointed us off in the right direction, went up some pretty dodgy stairs for some great views of Cairo. Fire trucks rushed by us below, so we cautiously followed behind them. The fire was put out but it was a bit of of a mess everywhere. We said our goodbyes to Doris and Katherine then Alex and I cabbed it back to the hotel. Rest of the night was devoted to snacks and card games as we waited for our midnight taxi to the airport.

The drive out to the airport was fun. The traffic in Cairo is insane and the worst I have seen in all my travels. I'd be terrified to drive here, it is scary enough just being a passenger. Our cabbie is good though and we make it to the airport safe and sound.

I have a long 25 hour journey to get home via Frankfurt and Calgary but it feels great to know I'm on the way home and I've done it.

See you soon!
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