Sunday, March 22, 2009

Arriving in Cairo Wednesday, March 18

Got to Cairo after a 10 hour red-eye flight from JFK. Except for trying to sleep (Trying to sleep in economy class on a plane should be classified as torture.) , flying on Egypt Air was great: More space between rows of seats, comfortable seats, hot towels to refesh before breakfast, two real meals (they even served steamed fish that was not over cooked or cold) and a snack.Bus from plane to terminal for customs. Getting through customs was very fast.

The cab ride from the airport to our hotel in downtown Cairo was interesting. Bumper to bumper traffic. Very few traffic lights and the ones there were seemed to be ignored. On our side of the road, there were three stripped traffic lanes (no shoulder) but there were five lanes of traffic (lane stripes tend too be ignored. You have to be fearless to drive here.

We were going to send a few hours on our own exploring Cairo—decided to take a quick nap—woke up five hours later—no time for sight-seeing. I went out for a short walk along the Nile (hotel is on the Nile). A lot of permanently moored large boats turned into tourist restaurants.

It turns out that pedestrians have to be fearless also—in crossing the street. Pedestrians effectively do not have the right of way. You have to find a small gap in traffic and start crossing—a lane at a time—stopping between lanes if needed. At least drivers don't aim at pedestrians or speed up. So, at least it's better than NYC.

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