Cairo, Egypt: Day 1

Welcome new readers to The Seoul of Cyprus! Glad to have a few new folks around to read about the things we are doing in Cyprus. This week, we have a special five day post on our recent trip to Egypt. So come back each day for more info. about taking our family to visit the beautiful cities of Cairo and Giza.

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Decision to Go

We booked a last minute trip to Egypt during Piano Man’s spring break. At the time, we weren’t too sick, and the kids were just fine. But then…dun dun dun – duuuuun. Everyone got sick – and I mean, everyone – with the stomach flu or a cold/cough, transferring one virus to the other. We debated if we should even go up until the last minute we packed our stuff into the car.

Even though Egypt’s Air tiny jet plane was delayed and met with lots of extreme turbulence during take off and landing, we made it into Cairo while the sun was still up.

Landing in Cairo

Once we began our descent, you could see the desert environment and building structures surrounding Cairo.  I thought Egypt was this extremely hot dry weather environment, but in early April, it was surprisingly breezy and cool.

We stepped onto the tarmac where the jet turbine engines sirened in our ears. (We definitely need to remember earplugs for the children.) And then onto the plane where all the other passengers waited for us (the final family to exit the plane) to board the bus. Piano Man was crushed between an elderly woman and a gentleman, like sardines in a tin can, and he was ready to get off.

Streets of Cairo

Our friends back in Cyprus connected us with a tour guide in Cairo to help us get situated. The tour guide booked our hotel room, organized a complete itinerary, and hired a driver for the weekend.

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The driver took about 40 minutes to get to the hotel. Thursdays are the busiest days in traffic because everyone was going home for the weekend. (In Egypt, Fridays and Saturdays are considered the weekends.) We asked how many people live in Cairo. Answer: Oh, about 20 million. What a complete difference from Cyprus!

IMG_2909You can’t really see lane demarcations, so it’s no wonder that people will go speeding as fast as possible down four or five lanes, passing one another within inches of each other. It’s no joke when people are literally inches from you. If you look out the window, you can make eye contact and say hello to the next person or hear their phone conversations.

Here are some other interesting things we saw on our drive from the airport to the hotel:

– motorcycle carrying four passengers

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– horse-drawn flat bed truck carrying loads of laundry/fabric tarps with a person riding on top of the fabric mound

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(Other photos of similar horse-drawn carriages or bicyclists in Cairo.)

– a small white local van without a sliding door, so those standing peering out of the door for a better view of the street

– drivers stopping by the road to go to the bathroom between two columns on the wall. You can still see left over stains at the bottom edges.

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The driver nearly got into a couple of accidents himself in the changing lanes while turning in the roundabout, but he wasn’t phased by it. He said you have to get into a couple of accidents to be a good driver. BMWs even have knicks and dents in Cairo. That would be unacceptable to those with BMWs in Cyprus.

This was all within our first hour of experiencing Cairo. The rest of our night was trying to settle down and rest for the next day of activities.

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