On December 28th 2010 I spontaneously decided to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids of Giza. I had always wanted to see them, and I needed to pass a weeks time before my mother and brother were to meet me in the UAE. From the Gulf states its only about an hour flight.
Upon flying into Cairo I had my same mindset as traveling anywhere in the Middle East. (only speak when spoken to, and hope that nobody asks where I am from) Outside of the airport the very first things I noticed 1. Trash everywhere 2. Traffic congestion.
I hailed a cab which ended up being a 1970’s something beat up Renault. I sat up front and greeted the driver”salem alekum”, next I showed him the address to the hotel I had booked that I had written down on the back of a brochure from the terminal. The driver wasn’t familiar with this hotel, so he asked the driver for guidance in the cab next to him as we were rolling down the thorough fare. He wasn’t paying attention and rear ended the car in front of him. Luckily we both had our safety belts on. The drivers cigarette flew out of his mouth and landed in the crack between the windshield and the dash. Immediately the car in front of him pulled over, my cab driver pulled up next to him and yelled out in arabic that “everything is okay, just minor damage.” I turned my head and noticed pieces of plastic tail light and bumper cover on the road. To me this was much more than minor damage, I could still feel the wreck in my neck. My hired cab driver continued on before the other driver was able to notice the damage he had caused. At this point I was really tired and starting laughing hysterically. Not because it was funny, but because it was ridiculous that this had happened five minutes after my stepping foot outside of the airport.
At the next traffic light the car my cabbie rear ended caught up to us, he pulled up next to my side of the car demanding that I roll down my window, I looked at my cabbie for his input. He nodded his head, as if to say, go ahead roll it down. Mind you I still had a smirk on my face from the hysterics I had experienced moments ago. I rolled down my window about half way. The other driver continued to swear at my driver in arabic. I tried looking straight forward as to stay neutral. The driver of the damaged car must have noticed my grin and asked me in broken English “what fucking you laugh and smile for, my car no good you guy” I turned to the driver and told him the light was green. He put the pedal to the metal, the driver followed us through Cairos congested streets. After about 10 minutes we lost him. Im sure this will come back to haunt my cabbie, as Egyptians use license plates too.
This describes my first 1/2 hour in Cairo. More to follow.