Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cairo! - Ethiopia conclusion posted yesterday

Got to Cairo and took the bus from the Airport to downtown, where I knew the name of two cheap hotels to stay. I had no idea where to get off on the bus and a nice guy named Ahmed sitting next to me told me it was the same stop as him. He helps me get off then walks around with me in the sweltering heat (he was wearing a suit and still kept offering to help me carry my bags) for over 20 minutes trying to find the hotel before someone on the street notices our misery and leads us to a hostel called the Canadian Hostel. Egyptian hospitality already proved itself, then the guy who led me to the hostel, what are the odds, his name would be Mohammed, invited me to tea and coffee so I went out with him for an hour or so at a coffee shop...nice guy and wouldn't let me pay. The number of free coffee/meals I've had in Africa continues to pile up.

Ended up meeting a few of the people staying at the hostel and instead of sleeping likeI should have done, was convinced to head to some nightclub. I get there and have an overpriced beer (over $4!), only to learn when the waiter comes around for the second round that there is a minimum charge for men of 100 egyptian pounds (roughly $18) - way out of my budget. There was no warning or sign and the waiter never mentioned it...he kept saying everyone knows everyone knows. So me and another guy argue with the manager for awhile and eventually I leave paying about $6 for my one beer vowing never to return.

Next day with the same people I headed over to the Citadel with an historic mosque and military museum (that just happened to skirt over the unsucessful wars with Israel while glorifying every victory in any conflict...was fun). Spent the afternoon drinking tea and smoking hookah (my new addiction here) and went to sleep early.

I think it was the day after that I went around to the big market with a girl named Jade from Hong Kong who was travelling alone at the hostel. Had a good time wondering around the market and watched the sunset over the Nile at the Hard Rock Cafe Cairo (lame I know, but I was really craving a good burger - it was succulent). So romantic sipping bottomless sugary soft drinks and scarfing greasy burgers with a beautiful sunset...too bad she has a boyfriend at home and I, of course, am a gentleman. We both were on roughly the same travel path and decided to travel down to Luxor (12hr train ride to ancient temples) and up to Dahab (20 hr bus ride to the beach) over the next week together.

Last day in Cairo I still hadn't seen the Pyramids so I took the bus over to Giza paid my fee and saw them in the brutal 110 degree shadeless mid-day heat. You can see pics below of me acting like a goofy is low season here in Egypt, but there were still busloads upon busloads of tourists at the Pyramids. That night took the overnight train down to Luxor and ended my Cairo adventure...nothing too exciting, only got kicked out of one bar! Most people tend to hate Cairo since it's so polluted and busy, but I liked it a lot...first modern city I've been to in over 2 was like paradise to have a functioning western toilet, fast internet, and real architecture in the buildings.

sunset over the nile

Citadel Mosque courtyard


Jin said...

nice beard

August 5, 2007 12:58 AM  

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