Alex!

We left Mt. Sinai and drove up to Suez before following the canal along to Port Said. We had originally intended to camp near here but the land was very swampy and all the good pieces were taken by farmers. We then decided to shoot on to Alexandria after filling up Doris for £11 GBP! Those are crazy fuel prices! Pepsi costs more here! We drove late into the evening and before we knew it the sun had set. We had been told don’t drive at night in Africa. Now we will never drive at night in Africa. That 200kilometre stretch to Alexandria was ridiculous. Egyptian drivers are insane, no one had their lights on and when they did they were on high beams, there were no street lights, the lanes were just about visible on the road and even then no one used them. There were some close calls on that road but that was nothing. We arrived in Alexandria, here the driving got worse simply by the sheer volume of cars. We hadn’t sorted accommodation for Alexandria and were just hoping to land on our feet. Navigation was impossible as most of the streets weren’t named. That and we were all more distracted by how insane drivers were here. There were four lanes clearly marked on the road but there were six lanes of cars. What do you do with that? People beep their horns rather than use their indicators. We just had to abandon Doris on a street lock her up and get a taxi to a hotel. We then got an insider look as to how everyone drives in Egypt, the taxi driver was able to skilfully navigate the insane amount of “lanes” and turns and weave through traffic jams like we couldn’t believe. He was like a Jedi, he just had the force and could sense other cars. In the two days we were in Alexandria we saw two people get smashed up by cars. Not good. African driving is already starting to worry us. We asked an Egyptian “Why dont you drive in the lines?” He replied “Its just paint. Why would I live my life by paint?” Couldnt argue with that. We also discovered that people dont drive with their lights on because they think they will drain the batteries. We eventually landed into a hotel at 1am and got a room. Phew! That was a day! For the next two days we switched hotels to somewhere a bit cheaper and then we started exploring.  We ended up in the University of Alexandria’s Library which is just slightly better than the new one in Queens! Only because it has an Antiquities museum in it though! We went uptown to the Catacombs and toured the underground for an afternoon. No mummies sadly but the tombs were macabre enough.  After that we just chilled out on the waterfront and watched the demolition derby!

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2 Responses to “Alex!”

  1. Susan Wetherbee Says:

    Gentlemen:

    Have enjoyed reading your postings concerning your trip in Africa. You seem to have an open heart for the seven African countries you plan to help. That’s wonderful! However, you came across a little bit cheeky when you wrote about Egyptians and Egypt. One value all Arabs share is the awareness of dignity. Not putting a person on the spot or causing them embarrassment is important in Egypt.

    Egyptians are friendly, cheerful (maybe less so during all the government problems), and hospitable. Most of them endure difficult living conditions on a daily basis. Many need to juggle several jobs in order to make a decent income. People here in Egypt are well aware of the rampant poverty, overcrowding (traffic included), and continued unemployment. This, however, is information they will rarely share with foreigners as they are eager to portray the positive side of their country.

    After centuries of occupation and oppression, Egyptians have a vital means of self-preservation: a sense of humor. Lanes in the road – “It’s only paint” – this guy makes you look wet behind the ears. So perhaps it would be wise to keep your western ideals in check. If you can’t say something nice while in public, don’t say it at all. Afterall, charity workers need to be humble.

    Have a safe trip and Godspeed.

    Regards,
    Susan Wetherbee
    Alexandria, Egypt (since 2010)

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