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Jodes and Nick’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 24 Oct 2006

Location: Cairo, Egypt

MapToday is the last of our 15 full days here, and must say I am almost relived because Cairo (in particular) takes it out of you - the history, monuments and temples are amazing, but almost as amazing is Cairo's traffic, heat and the touts!

We were pretty knackered after travelling through South and Central America independantly, so decided to sit back and do Egypt by tour, although not the first class type. We spent our time in historic Cairo, Pharaonic Aswan and Luxor along the Nile, pilgrim Mt Sinai and tranquil Dahab, so covered almost all parts of Egypt other than the Western Desert and Alexandria.

Away from the Nile delta, Egypt is so dry and dusty that it is hard to imagine that in the time of the Pharoahs that these guys ruled for so long. Even more impressive that they were able to create such amazing monuments in this climate, but it is the dry heat that has the amazingly preserved them for 3000+ years.

After all we have seen though I think the thing that stays clearly in our minds is the traffic bedlam in Cairo - you need to be crazy or stupid (or both!) to drive in this city, even worse to be a pedestrian crossing the street! One of our tour guides explained that the traffic lane markers are only for decoration, and that you only need to obey traffic lights if and only when the traffic police instruct you to?! We had a taxi one night that drove without the lights on, and when we asked why he said there was no need "...the city has lights?!" and this was after he paid his way out of a fine for not wearing a seat belt. We had a jeep taxi in Dahab that firstly pushed along our second car when it ran out of petrol (after only 2 minutes) and then dropped a muffler when we were flying across the rough dirt track to a snorkeling point north of town. One thing is for sure though...you better have a working car horn, and a good one at that! The next thing that sticks in your mind are the touts that try and drag you into their shops/bazaars or overcharge you...but you almost get used to that!

We have also added to our 'modes of transport' list which now includes feluccas, donkeys, riverboats and of course the craziest taxis!

Actually it is all a bit hard to put words too, so just look at the photos!