|After only one change of gates our flight boarded for Cairo. Still in steerage, and in almost the last row, off we went. A better equipped plane than Delta, with real blankets, personal movie screens, and very nice service and food. Cloudy initially but cold see the Alps quite well, then over Greece and the Mediterranean and finally, Egypt. The land was flat and lush, with the setting sun reflecting off rice paddies and irrigation canals. The the city. Mo ancient monuments to see, just clusters of high rise (5 or 6 stories) buildings. Each cluster was separated by some open space, then another cluster. Cairo city center was sky scrapers as you would expect. The dominant color was tan – land and buildings.
At the airport we boarded a bus from the plane and went through customs with no problems. A $15 visa and changing some money (about 5 EL (Egyptian pounds) to the dollar). After customs we met our ride easily enough, then into the van for the trip to the hotel.
Cairo traffic – I wouldn't drive there. There seem to be few rules that I could detect – traffic laws seemed to be merely suggestions. Three lane roads had cars, buses, vans, and what every type of car you can think of four across. Two hits of the horn seemed to mean that “if you come any closer I will hit you.” No traffic lights. At one intersection there was a traffic cop who seemed to have tings under control, but I wonder. He made one pickup back all the way across an intersection because he went when he wasn't supposed to – holding traffic up for a minute as other cars had to back up to make room. Saw only one woman driving out of hundreds of cars, most drivers smoking, and only rarely did you see a car with only one person in it. Most were of indeterminate manufacture and seemed quite old.
There was an enormous amount of public art – murals and bas relief and fountains. Some to the ancient history with pharaohs and pyramids, some of recent history, like the Egypt – Israeli war, with Egyptian soldiers waving flags and tanks crossing a hastily constructed bridge. Many images of the current president as well.
The prayer towers were also quite interesting. Some were the old towers that you would associate with the call to prayer, but many were brightly lit with patters of lights that looked almost like Christmas trees or light shows, wit changing colors and patterns. The buildings all looked well maintained and clean, but the air was hazy and it was hot.
The other public art was bill boards – huge and everywhere. Also many shops displaying modern clothing.
At the hotel we checked in with ease and the loud cheering from the lounge we were told was a wedding party. The hotel staff was very helpful and friendly. At the room, after 27 hours with just cat naps, we ordered room service. Alice had “the best burger EVER!” I had a nice fresh vegetable and tuna salad.
The room is small but comfortable. The internet service (broad band) doesn't work. Much to Alice's disgust the only TV channel in English is the BBC news. That wa OK. We were pooped!
At 11:00 (4 PM EDT) we went to bed.