Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Egypt – Cairo

Day 41
Egypt, Cairo
Total 8429 km

Written in Kairo, in the city centre.

Overall it is nice and cheap to drive about in Egipt. Diesel costs 1.10 local money. Probably in Estonia it is also 1.10 local money. It was at least in January when I started and I remembered this kind of price.

But if to deal a bit with math then it comes out that the price of a litre is less than two Kronas which means that 9 times cheaper than in Estonia. And while filling the tank it comes from the hose so that it is almost piled up and no problem that everything is swimming around.

In the meantime it almost seemed that because of the political situation there would be no visit to Kairo. To drive about in Sinai for about a week and make an attempt to cross the Red Sea by Sharm-el Sheik – Hurganda ferry. But at Sharm port it turned out that that ferry no longer run and it would be necessary to drive up to the Suez and then through the tunnel. So whatever – if already in the Suez why not go to Cairo, being a historic time right now.


Evening Sinai

In Sharm it was evident that there is a lack of tourists. Only a few tables occupied in the outdoor cafes and somehow a few people in the market. But I could at least buy a data SIM card for internet. The only place it was sold was at a local internet provider`s. So I went there – first a taxi, showing the way and then me – following. It would be great to use GPS but then there should be the names of the streets and the numbers of the houses. And taxi is also much cheaper here. The name of the provider is Elisalat and the packages are almost as in Estonia . Reasonable share of 6 or 8 giga will be more than 3.5G and above that there is speed limit. A month – long contract was 165 EGP. So there is no need to look for wifi.

And so in the afternoon I started to move towards Suez. The night was spent at a police check post. And at night from somewhere appeared mosquitoes. Very angry and hungry ones. Which meant that a mosquito – net was found and put into use. But somehow I still had some of them under my net. Which meant that either the meshes were too large or the mosquitoes too small. Or the net was poorly installed. It is good that it is not there area of malaria yet. Because otherwise I should already start taking Malarone. Although it should be taken in before Sudan anyway.

There is a tunnel under the Suez Canal. And in front of that a decent hour-long queue. And as to the weather – it blew dry sand and the wind side of the window could not be open. Everything eas covered with sand. And when windows closed – the car inside temperature was already + 33 C and outside it was +26 C. So Welcome to Africa.

Before the tunnel there was security check, more precise than at most of the similar places. The questions were asked like where I was coming from and where to I was going and if it was my own car and then I had to go with my passport to an important offical. Anyway there are not really seen any tourists by their own cars. Actually there are almost none. It was in Cairo that I met the first travellers from South Africa.

And after the tunnel one more check up. And again questions like – why Cairo etc. My reply was that first to Cairo, then Luxor then Assuan and then Sudan. They were satisfied. Now afterwards I understand that it was very good that the Sudan visa was previously made in Europe and extended in Ankara. They say that some embassies are also closed here. And already while leaving Jordania I was asked if I had got the Sudan visa.

Now to be perfectly honest I wanted to visit Cairo because of the Pyramides and the Egiptian Museum but a big reason was also that I wanted to drive about in Cairo myself. It is said that the traffic in Cairo is one of the worst in the world and it really was quite a chaos. It belongs to the same class with Bamako, Istanbul and Damascus. It goes that way that when there are 3 rows of driving then there are 5 cars side by side etc. And the turns to left and back are taken from any given row. And just one must be careful and attentive.

So I was not such a cool guy as to film with one hand and use the other hand for steering and changing gears. And at last - in this kind of places one must follow the driving style of others, beiing a part of the mass. And in case you suddenly notice a nice orange and white bread stall by the road you just stop the car by the road and go shopping. The others are not very angry, they try to pass. And always it is possible to have your mind through the open window!

There are no today`s pictures, because not the wind but the sand was blowing the whole day.
And all the world seems yellowish-grey.


Two pictures of Damascus Old Town.



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