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Maurice’s Travel Diary

Monday, 18 Aug 2008

Location: Egypt. Installment I, Egypt

MapEgypt is a place I have always wanted to visit and so here I am.
My first observations are that it is pretty hot!! Around 40 degrees
Here they drive like maniacs, they will overtake on the left, on the
right and if there is space, between cars. It doesn't matter whether
they are in town or on the expressways. It can be hair-raising as they
hurtle past at great speed. You would think that pedestrians wouldn't
dare set foot on the road, but no. They will edge across -expressways
included - and the cars will either swerve or slow to allow them
accross. The streets in town can be narrow and women with small
children walk alomg as cars career along at alarming speeds and just
miss. No one bats an eye.
The taxi drivers are the worst. I know I say that about every country
I go to, but I've never seen anything like these guys. There doesn't
seem to be any road rules that they adhere to. They weave in and out
of the traffic lanes to get a small advantage . When they do get clear
road they become Schumaker. One guy even went up a one way street 500
mtrs in reverse to get me to where I wanted to be.
Police are everywhere here in Cairo anlthough it is hard to tell what
they do. The wear a white tunic tied around the waist with a belt a
little like a sack of potatoes!! They have a berret perched on their
heads and of course carry guns. The traffic can be in total chaos
around them, but they ignore it and chat amongst each other.
On our way to Alexandria I notice some houses in the country with
these elongated beehive shapes on top. Apparently they are built 2 to
3 times the height of the house for the pigeons to roost in.
There are 9 million people in Cairo thats twice as many as New
Zealand. Alexandria has just 4 million and I think they were all at
the beach yesterday. Just like Benidorm. The difference here is the
family go to the beach and mamma still wears her black burkah, and
even swims in it.

On to the Pyramids. They really are impressive and it is obvious you
are on a touristy trip as you go from one to the other following tour
buses and vans. I saw four all together form the first built of stone
How they got them that high I'll never know

One other interesting point. Several times we have come across
didturbances in the street between men and each time others have
rushed in to intervene and keep the parties apart. I can't help but
think if that was Dublin or Auckland everyone would have joined in and
knocked seven bells out of each other.
Wen to see cultural show, mainly music and dancing by all male troup.
The highlight - it was all good - was a whirling Durbishire. He wore a
heavy wide skirt and he spun himself around for some twenty minutes
without a pause. My guide said he had once counted te turns and gave
up after 1050. It was truly amazing. The show was performed in a
600year old market hall. which made the performace easy to see, but
loud. Absolutely beautiful.
Off to Aswan tonight.