“Breakfast included”, Cairo, December 8th, 2010

The fact that it was Monday when I had to get up at 6am in the morning was a coincidence but it made it nice. Thinking of all my friends and relatives that are starting another week of work while I just get my butt into a bus to go onto another country. As the direct bus was full I had to take a detour via Beer Sheva but I arrived in Eillat almost at the same time. Even though I was here just for 2 hours before it felt like entering familiar ground. So I went straight forward to a Sushi place taking advantage of the “business lunch” offer. Then the hardest decision of the trip yet, boots or sneakers to replace my stolen shoes. I went for the boots and got flip flops for free with it. As I a said, its small town America.

Soon later I got my first real adrenalin kick on this trip, at the Taba, Israel Egypt border. Everything went fine until the guy made me wait for 10 minutes, looking strange, going away with my passport. He came back and said: “Come with me, there is something wrong with your passport, we need to ask you some questions.” Following him I set up my strategy which was: no stories, full truth, nothing to hide. After another 10 minutes of waiting I had to follow him again, he stamped the paper and said: “Our mistake, have a nice trip.”

Well, I imagine the situation as following: Young and motivated border guy goes to his boss: “The German traveller has no Jordan stamp, something is wrong and I found it out.“ The boss replies: “And now what? We question him for 2hours, find out he was in Syria, find out he is a stupid tourist and not the enemy of Israel and then we let him go anyway??? Let him leave and don’t border me again…”

So I left and five seconds later I was back in the middle east. It is so funny how the Egyptian police men try to be worried about safety, try to have things in order but its just so against what they are about. The metal detector basically screamed at each person going through but oh well. Some guy told me to go upfront, the next told me to go back for a stamp and on. But it was all relaxed and friendly and it took not long before I was at the bus station in Taba. For the next 7 hours I sat next to Mirjam (“Friedens-marmelade (mir – jam)) and her 2 German friends. It was good to chat a bit in German and about Germany again.

If you want to experience a computer car race game in real, just get into a Cairo taxi and say “follow that car”. Here I was, in a taxi with 2 Japanese tourists chasing the taxi in front of us with the 3 German girls in it. 120km/h in full traffic, through tunnels and round abouts. Holding on to the grip above me I think the blood circulation in my right hand stopped for 15 minutes until we reached our destination. The Germans told us the direction and said good bye. The Japanese and I checked into the Hotel. “The dorm room is 4€, breakfast included.” the men said. The next morning I had my breakfast (see picture) and here comes the funny part, I liked it, I thought it was good.

On Tuesday I wondered alone through Cairo with two noticeable experiences. First the cemetery which has its own story, see new post in the cemetery category and secondly the city itself. I like it. Cairo is a puzzling city of 18 million trying to make a living. Its all there: the young and old, the modern and tradition, the Christians and Muslims, the malls and souks, the Pizza Hut and the Shwarma, the quiet / kind and the shouting people. But Cairo also pays a high price for its size: noise, traffic, smoke, dirt, rats, the hassle and rush. I walked through 3 different streets of which each was committed to one topic. One with hundreds of phone shops, the next with bikes and the third with shoes. Strange. I went to bed early, together with my 4 Asian dorm mates.

The next morning, the Asians have left, Jonathan (US) walks in. He just lived / worked 2 years in Morocco’s back land and now travels before returning home. We take the Metro and then a Taxi to reach the only still existing wonder of the ancient world, the Pyramids. Let me separate my thoughts in pro in con, starting with pro: Wow, amazing, incredible, the size, the age, the perfect geometry, the big stones and the low entrance fee. Now the cons: horse and camel shit everywhere, the busses, the noise, the street going right between the 2 biggest pyramids, the city so close, the hassle and the separate and higher fee to enter the one of them. I am glad I was here and I recommend it but it did not blow me away or left me breathless. I liked Jonathon’s point. When Jesus and with him Christianity lived / started, the Pyramids were already 2000 years old. Did he see them?

The afternoon I spend with preparation for Africa, money change, new toothbrush and an internet update. At 10pm in the modern Terminal 3 I enjoyed a fantastic lamb, beef, vegetables and rice dinner, bought a 300g Milka at the duty free. At 11pm, on time, Egypt Air flight MS 183 took off to Addis Abeba, with me in it…………….    .

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