We are paralyzed at the curb wondering how to cross. We’ve stood here for five minutes watching the traffic flow. The airport is a kilometer behind, our destination 19 ahead. A biker in a hooded sweatshirt and track pants passes, merging with traffic from the right. There are no traffic lights in this city of 16 million.
Six months traveling so far and it turns out Cairo is the best. It has some grit and so many people that it can get overwhelming.
“Welcome to Egypt,” they say. Men invite us into their shop or offer assistance.
We drink freshly pressed cane sugar juice and eat small liver sandwiches. I never thought I’d like liver, but if it’s only a little and it’s spiced and served with pickles it tastes nice.
We walked the ten mile stretch from the city center to the pyramids of Giza. Along the way we saw lots and lots of traffic– mostly cars and walkers and some mopeds and a few donkey carriages and a few bikes. . It’s fluid and sometimes walking upstream is the best way to get across. Everyone weaves their way through.
There’s a golf course in front of the pyramids and a bus depot across the way.
No one wears t-shirts even when it’s hot in the sun. No one wears shorts. Men and women wear robes. Many men dress western and some women do too. I turn heads in slouchy sweatpants. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me because most of the time they’re just curious.
I put on a long sleeve shirt and a pair of shorts and go for a run. After a day in Cairo, I knew it would be a spectacle. A little boy on a dirt bike gives me a thumbs up. A teenage boy winds up and pretends to kick me like a soccer ball. A taxi driver tells me I did a very good job. A young woman hisses at me, pinching her fingers open and closed. I hear people running behind, but I don’t turn to look at them.
I love it here.
Few gates and few locks are refreshing after so much barbed wire in South Africa, but I guess you can wear shorts there.