Thursday, 8 November 2012

Of Visa's, Big Guys and Dates...

Written on 25/10/2006

Hello everybody.

Hope you are all well. We are well rested and yes I am almost back up to my normal weight; it's a bit dissapointing having to scale down on my egg intake...

I went to Cairo for visas on 18\10\06.My documents are still with security and because of Ramadan and Aeid I should only return on the 28th. Christy had no problem with her visa and I was told to fetch the passport at 2 o'clock, but they obviously meant "2 hours time" because they were closed when I got there,so I left her passport at immigration and decided to return "home".

Staying right on the beach!
..on the subject of Ramadan. Cairo is a very stressful city, if all you are doing is sorting out bureaucracy and dealing with taxi drivers whose only ambition in life is to rip off tourists! So you can imagine how stressed I am after a 500km bus ride,4 taxi rides where you have to argue the driver down from 50 pounds to 15 pounds, no visa and an abandoned passport...The bus ticket office is closed as its 5:30pm; bus might leave at 8pm.. no 10pm.. can we get you a taxi.. my friend has a taxi.. Yes the microbus to Alexandria rank is very far away.. only 30 pounds.. 7km's, but with traffic we can't charge less than 15 pounds.. (GPS tells me its 1,5 km or 10 minute walk)..!

Bully at Alexandria taxi rank tries to pick a fight.. "BIG SMILE, NO GUN!" (wish I had coined the phrase).. I am the first passenger so there is a long wait.. Eventually we get going.. hooting, stop\starting, yelling from taxi driver.. where you from.. South Africa.. NO YOU'RE NOT, YOU'RE WHITE!!.. frenetic driving.. peak hour traffic with 3 million people exiting the city.. Out of nowhere a brute of a man steps in front of the taxi brandishing a lump of wood that a neanderthal would be proud to pick up! Taxi screeches to a halt. He's wearing a tight fitting, bright orange T-shirt and a very dangerous grin.. Yip, it's "lets beat up the foreigner time".. my heart starts racing as I look for the closest exit.. the side door bursts open and Orange's 2 bigger brothers poke their heads in.. their faces break into the kindest smile you can imagine and little plastic cups filled with date juice are handed out to everyone.. 2 minutes later we're on our way and only then do I relax my hold on the seat.. sunset comes and I take a sip of the sweetest juice you can imagine.. the dates in the bottom taste like toffee! Ramadan is a time for sharing with everyone!

Cheers William and Christine

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