Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Egypt for Trouble Seekers (1.2)

An Unfair Observation

Between these unforgettable arriving and departing experiences, I actually didn’t stay in Egypt long enough to make any decent neither fair observation. So allow me readdress, this is a very personal and definitely biased travel note, don’t believe everything I said and go see it for yourself… well, except the part being a (under 60 years old) woman don’t try to adventure alone. (click "read more" to read the whole article)

It was short, in total 5 days and 5 nights, and the last day I basically spent in my hotel room watching a National Graphic Channel documentary series about American Mafia. With Arabic subtitle of course, which is one of the few things in that room actually has some Middle-East flavor besides the butt-washing pot in the bathroom.

It was quite limited in scale as well. In these 5 days, I mainly stayed in Cairo and its nearby areas, such as Saqqara and Memphis. So if you want to say my observation actually should only be applied to Cairo; it might be quite right. But since being an outsider, a traveler and a foreigner, really goes deep into the core of nation is never possible, I think I would just leave it that way. Yes, my “Egypt” trip!

Comparing with my previous travel experiences, I would say my expectation of adventure for this trip was rather modest. I went as a baggage, an extra, just somebody to share my boyfriend’s hotel room (that was his business trip), and if that’s possible, I might be lucky enough able to see the country a bit by myself. That was a 5 stars hotel, Conrade Cairo, which is slightly out of my league. 5 stars hotel never suits me; it strikes me as a lonely, indifferent and cold place (but in Egypt a cold place with air-co anyway still is a big plus, I would say). I guess I am more like pension/ family hotel type.

Impressions of Egypt

Though staying in a cultural isolated 5 stars hotel is never a way to explore the true color of local life, but Cairo makes sure those pieces of Egyptian flavors and sounds flowing into your window and tickling all over your senses. Looking out my balcony on the right side is one of most beautiful swimming pool bar I’ve ever seen, which lay peacefully and magically on the top of hotel hall, just like a godsend oasis made by genies from “1001 Nights”.

But on the left side, you could see all those typically Cairo sand-color tall buildings with no intention to finish up, especially the top floor and outer walls, which leaves tons of dust and sand loosing out from the building unceasingly. When ever there is wind, there is sand bumping all over your face. After a day walking in the City, your face would turn sandy, it looks like and feels like, full of sand.

And how could you miss the non-stop noise of traffic? There is no night in Cairo, and indeed it is a city never sleeps. The night is never coal-black, as the street lights reflected by the dusty air creating an illuminated lighting effect. And there is always somebody awake, here or there. Some shops open up late, some shops open early, and some of them never close. Ceaselessly cars drive by rushing to a family’s or friends’ gathering, or simply trying to make a living.

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