Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First Look: Cairo

My first glimpse of Cairo looked like this:

That is, the car that the hotel driver brought to the airport ran out of oil halfway back to Cairo. I sat in the car, on a busy street, as other cars whizzed by. I got out after a while, thinking that if someone hit the car, I didn’t really want to be in it. The driver finally showed up in a taxi, bearing a plastic jug full of oil.

My flight had been late, and the driver had been later, because he’d been wandering around the airport looking for me.

“Taxi? I give you good price.”

“No, thank you. Someone is waiting for me.”

“But they are not here.”

“Yes, I can see that.”

He finally showed up and whisked me onto the parking lot shuttle bus. Madam, your oil-free chariot awaits!


Marie Javins said...

And if you think that was fun, for my next trick, I'll try to find a flat where all the ones I have seen are either disgusting or outrageously gaudy with chandeliers and ludicrous furniture.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to the motherland!

Steve Buccellato said...

Ah yes. That brings me back to my first Cairo experience. My taxi drive from the airport was interesting and somewhat terrifying. Luckily it was so early in the morning--just before dawn--and there was hardly any traffic. Evidently there are no traffic laws in Egypt, as my driver ignored every red light or sign that offered suggestions about what he should do next. He also spent much time driving on the wrong side of the highway. Fun fun!

And to think, before that, I thought the drivers in Rome were crazy! Silly me!

Marie Javins said...

My friend Nikki used to drive overland trucks for Dragoman. First through India and the Middle East, then through Africa. She came to visit New York once and someone said to her "How would you like to drive a truck down one of these streets?" He expected her to say "No way, this is scary." Instead she said "Sure, no problem. They have things like traffic lights and laws here. And big avenues. Easy driving."

I agree! Though Cairo is not the worst for driving. There are lots of bad places for driving. Bangkok, India, Ho Chi Minh City. I think Kuwait is one of the worst though because people get bored and drive insane speeds, then their cars flip over.

Marie Javins said...

Thanks Pernille. I seem to be on the wrong end of the continent, but some things are oh-so-familar. Today the real estate agent got annoyed because he had to wake up one of the doormen, who then forced the agent to call the apartment owner, who said "The doorman has the keys, ask him for them."

Ah, of course. Makes perfect sense.