Friday, 11 November 2011

More of Egypt!

Travel Tales

This was very much the fun bit! Or was it the 'white knuckle' ride. We were in Cairo for a wedding and the evening before the nuptials there was a party, or rather a collection of celebrations. The first part was a ride in the bridegrooms car to a meal and the to the bride's party.
We were staying in the Sheraton in the centre of Cairo. Our room overlooked a road junction that consisted of 3 roads converging on a roundabout. If you have never been to Cairo then driving is a different skill that you probably misunderstood if taught to drive elsewhere in the world. There are 2 basic requirements. Firstly you need to know where the accelerator is and secondly the car horn. 24 hours a day there are car horns blaring. No one uses brakes and cars get into spaces that I used to believe impossible to enter.
There were 5 of us in a rather middle aged vehicle negotiating the packed roads of Cairo at break neck speeds. Just to mention that there were no air bags or seat belts! I was sat in the centre of the rear seat and could see everything which was disturbing. At one point we were careering backwards at high speed, along a one way street heading for the boat restaurant on the Nile which served the most wonderful sea bass! On a second occasion the driver/bridegroom turned off the headlights and drove the wrong way up a dual carriageway to take a short cut to his new apartment. Is it any wonder that it took me six weeks to get over the digestive problems I had after I returned to the UK?
If you add to this that one of our party ended under the swirling skirts of a whirling dervish. My daughter being, blonde and blue eyed, stopped an Egyptian school party outside of the Grand Mosque, because they wanted to touch her for good luck. She was only about 8 years old at the time and this was very disturbing for her although the children were being very friendly. Finally I had my camera taken from me in the Great Pyramid by an Egyptian chap, who then took my picture while lying in a stone sarcophagus. He returned the camera and was very polite and friendly but I was worried briefly.
What an amazing country and we were there for a week only!

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