Random Musings

Day 2: Exploring the streets of Cairo at night

June 14, 2009

After having shisha at the cafe inside the resort, Karim our tour guide finally showed up and started our very adventurous journey to downtown Cairo. We boarded the very significant and severely beaten up volkswagen which would be our ride for the rest of the night. I got excited at the sight of the car since I have never ridden any of these herbies before. (the downtown Cairo nightout is not part of any package so the volkswagen is not the normal transportation they provide for tours, just a disclaimer :p). After contorting our legs to fit at the backseat of the car we started our journey. It was going smooth and dandy until we reached the curb which is heading towards the highway, the engine stopped working and we were blocking the only way to the highway. It took us about 30seconds to finally have it up and running again and the cars honking their horns behind us made me all jittery. Yet, it was not the last time the herbie did that to us, it stops at 10meters interval and whenever we slow down. We reached a big intersection and our driver sped up even if it’s a red light on our side, the cars from our left side were on a green light so they all started speeding up as well. I was so sure that it was my last night here on earth as we missed a van by an inch. Our engine died right smack in the middle of that big intersection and the vehicles are just driving past us from our back, front, left and right. I was panicking and mentally kicking myself for not taking travel insurance. Honestly, it was the most sincere Lord’s Prayer that I’ve ever recited in my entire 25 years here on earth and thankfully, it was granted. WHEW!!!!! There were lots more of these mishaps on the way to Grand Hyatt but at least it weren’t on a big intersection like what we just had.

herbie

We arrived (alive) at Grand Hyatt Cairo and went to Hard Rock cafe inside it. It was a salsa night (as we assumed since the people are all dancing salsa on the stage :p) and we were literally in awe as we watched all these people clad in simple shirt and jeans shaking their booties to the rhythm of a salsa music. They all look fantastic!!! Deny and I could not take our eyes off of them while sipping our overpriced mojitos. I danced of course but absolutely not salsa, well these people will never see me again anyway so it’s ok to make a fool out of myself (read: looking like a dork on the dance floor).

me looking like a dork

me looking like a dork

We went out by around 1am and searched for food. Of course the herbie did its thing, stopping after every 10meters. :p The trip made me realize the difference of Manila and Cairo in terms of road traffic. In Manila, green means go; yellow means go faster and red is a suggestion. While in Cairo, red is not even a suggestion it’s merely a color to add up to the already colorful streets. Cars at the rightmost lane of the road will suddenly take a left on an intersection 5meters away without even using his flashers. People will come out of nowhere and cross the road while your car is just picking up speed. A 2-lane road is actually 3 and can even be a 4 if half your car is on the pavement. Funny thing is, with all these hustle and bustle that you see on the road the drivers don’t shout or curse at each other. They remain calm and seems like what they’re seeing is the most normal thing on earth.

yoga on the train tracks while karim is ruining my concentration

yoga on the train tracks while karim is ruining my concentration

After having shawarma at shawermer, we went home (3am) and dozed off to sleep. Next day will be Alexandria full day tour and we need to be on the road by 7am for our 3hr journey to Alex.

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