Our first day in Cairo - Mia Mia
Trip Start Mar 08, 2008
25Trip End Mar 24, 2008
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After finally getting to sleep at around 2.30am (a bit longer for me as Mum was snoring loudly), we were awoken at 4.47am by the call to prayer. My Egyptian friend had arranged for our room to be away from the traffic so it would be quiet but instead it is beside a mosque! The call to prayer sings out 5 times a day and is now a tape recorded message (refer attached) in the cities as it is more melodic than some of the droning calls to prayer I have heard previously. It wasn't a bad way to wake up (do you believe that I am saying that) as it immediatley made you aware that you were in a different country.
We went down for breakfast and the croissant was spoiled by sour butter. I wasn't game to try anything else afterwards and just had juice and tea (chay).
Today was very overcast but no rain. The visibility about a kilometre. Sal told us it was the wind from the Western Desert blowing in the sand and fog. We just think it is the pollution!
We had our first (of many) moments of excitement for the day. The dodgy lift. We got stuck in the hotel lift. The door wouldn't open. From the Lobby, they yelled out to us to go up a few stories then come back but this didn't work. Eventually we got off two floors up and walked down the stairs. We've since had several laughs at the dodgy lift. It has a mind of its own. Sometimes it just keeps going up and down, without you even pushing a button and once it does you just have to stay with the ride until it decides to stop somewhere! Then you get the stairs. We're six floors up so we always try to get as close to the sixth floor as we can so we don't have to climb too many (steep) stairs!
We met my Egyptian friend this morning in the MIDDLE of the bridge that crosses the Nile. Imagine what would happen if traffic just decided to stop on the Westgate bridge! It doesn't matter here! He was pulled over on the bridge and we just pulled up behind him. He came over and gave me a sim card for my phone, which we've tested and it works.
We are lucky enough to have Sal as our guide for the tour group for the next week.
We met my friend for lunch. He was thrilled with the Kangaroo skin hat. He has just been fantastic and when we get back to Cairo at the end of the tour, he is inviting us for an evening meal at his home.
I saw my life flash before my eyes today and had knees of jelly for quite some time afterwards. The normal procedure in Cairo for crossing the road is to step onto the road and put your hand out for traffic to stop. There is no such thing as working pedestrian crossings. The first two lanes of cars stopped no worries but not the big bus in the 3rd lane! I was standing between two lanes of traffic (a car nearly ran over my sandals that's how close it was!). I had no idea where Mum was, I was too busy weaving back and forwards dodging speeding traffic. She was doing the same. After the speeding bus passed, the remaining lanes stopped and we were able to cross. It was all probably over in seconds but at the time it certainly seemed like alot longer.
We met the rest of the tour group tonight. There are 13 of us with 5 Americans, 2 Canadians, 4 Aussies and 2 from England. Our tour leader is Siobhan from South Africa.
Oh Yes, Mia Mia means Great or Fantastic or 100% in Egyptian. My new saying for the day.
Where I stayed