First few days in Cairo

Well, I've been in Cairo for about 5 days now and I've done all the usual touristy stuff like visit the museum, the pyramids and the Mohammed Ali mosque. All very interesting, but for me half the fun is just being in Cairo and marvelling at the seemingly bizarre chaos of it all.

The traffic is amazingly bad as are the traffic fumes which are literally choking. Crossing the road is an excellent high stakes game of skill and daring where you simply step in front of the slower moving cars that you think might stop or swerve around you.

People in Cairo are the friendliest people I've come across and many times people shout "Welcome to Cairo" as they drive or walk past. They are also very "commercially minded" (to say the least) and I've been introduced to a number of clever if highly dubious and persistent sales techniques.

Westerners stand out from the crowd and are considered fair game for any number of schemes designed to part you from your cash. All the "scams" are done with good humour and I haven't once felt remotely threatened.

In some areas (the pyramids, downtown) we were bombarded with requests from taxi drivers, shop keepers and random people wanting to take you to a shop elsewhere. Purely from a time point of view  it's best to be friendly but keep walking. You could easily be asked if you want a taxi 10 times in 30 metres.

One of the highlights of these first fews days (apart from crossing the roads) was going inside the Great Pyramid at Gizza. Inside the pyramid it's suprisingly warm and you need to climb maybe 200 feet up a very steep, very narrow, low ceiling tunnel to reach the pharohs burial chamber. The burial chamber is a rectangular room about 5m long x 4m wide x 3m high made from black stone. At one end of the burial chamber is the remains of a sarcophagus made from the same black stone.


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