Leaving Cairo

Trip Start Mar 08, 2008
Trip End Mar 24, 2008

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Today was an amazing day.  Our favourite so far.  We did and saw so much that I have split into several entries.  This is where my entries will become more detailed as we visited places that I haven't been before.

Before I go on, I'll just mention a few more things about Cairo.  The whole city is covered by a layer of dust (and smog).  There are trees that if you washed off the dust, they'd have green leaves instead of brown.  The clothes are hung outside windows to try but they are against buildings which are so dirty that it hardly seems worthwhile washing them.

The city in on the go the whole time.  Busy Busy Busy.  Did I say before that about the entire population of Australia is effectively living in the city of Cairo (20 million)?  Everywhere you go takes time as you get stuck in traffic jams.  On a four lane highway, we counted 8 lanes of traffic.  It doesn't matter if the traffic lights are red, they still go through unless there are police at the intersection.  It's noisy with a constant tooting of horns.  There is so much rubbish.  The roof tops of 99% of the building are covered in rubbish.

This all sound negative but I still love the place.  It is just so different.  An experience.  Cairo makes me realise how lucky we are.  In Australia the majority of the population live in spendour and don't even realise or appreciate it.  An apartment in Cairo costs the equivalent of USD$500,000 as they are so hard to come by.  They take out 60 year mortgages (yes 60 years).  They know that they wont pay it off but at least their children or grandchildren will own the apartment in future.

Many of the buildings are unfinished on the outside as they do not pay rates/taxes until the building is finished.  This can continue indefinitely. 

The number of floors in an apartment is a good indication of how many families live there.  The son brings his new wife to live in the family home and they build another level for them.

The buildings are going to get pretty high as the population of Egypt is increasing by approx 1.7 Million people each year (70 million in total at present)!

Well we finally left the noisy, busy, dusty Cairo and saw our first blue sky since we got here.  The outside suburbs are very poor and full of rubbish.  Animals roam everywhere.

Once we left the city, we moved quickly into the rural areas.  The Nile river feeds canals, which the farmers use to grow produce.  The canals are filthy and full of rubbish.  A President in the 50's gave each farmer in the Sakkara area, 3 acres of land.  This land is now worth USD500,000 per acre!  Many farmers sold and became millionnaires overnight.  Some sold part of the land and others have stayed.

The green strip of the Nile is 20 miles at its widest ie 10 miles each side of the Nile.  It is amazing that driving on the road, you have one side lush and green and the other desert..

The Egyptians are building a new river.  They are excavating and when completed the new river will be fed from the Nile and run parallell.  The aim is to increase the width of fertile land and provide more living space for future generations.  Only 4% of the land in Egypt is currently habitable.  They aim to double this.  It is a huge project and completion is still 30 years away.  Forward thinking for future generations.

Next stop Sakkara.
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