Tuesday, April 03, 2007
The Other View
Two tourists clumsily staggered up to the taxi as the driver was dropping me off at Terminal 2 in Cairo.
"Pounds Towmanel 1?" The older tourist couldn't speak Arabic and scarely knew English. He seemed to be Japanese, wearing beach clothing, and was ready for a fight with the driver. The driver stared for a minute, trying to work out what he was being asked.
"Where are you going?" I intervened.
"No, I mean now. Where? Terminal 1? Airport? Aeropuerto?"
"Yes. Towmanel 1."
I held up one finger and he nodded with satisfaction. I turned to the driver.
Ha! That's outragous. It should be 2 pounds, but I'd allow 5 for airport prices. But for a moment, I could see through the taxi driver's eyes. Here was this ridiculous tourist in beach clothing in Cairo, one who probably was paying a thousand dollars to get to Bali from... somewhere. I couldn't imagine why he had been routed through Egypt.
I could have gotten further involved. But instead I grinned, handed the driver 50 pounds for my ride from town--an excellent tip but he had to wrangle the wheelie bag and I had no further use for Egyptian pounds--and wheeled my bag into the departure lounge.