“This airport seems quite small for a city so popular.
Is it the narrow roads, unfinished buildings, unknown faces that i am here to see?
I heard so much about this place, but why do I feel that this city is under-developed?
Where are the magnificent Pyramids that I see on television?
Those were my thoughts as soon as I arrived at the land where the time stands still and the omnipresent Pharaohs make your existence feel insignificant.
Of course, I saw what I came to see and I did smack my head from time to time with disbelief.
This land is so unique, yet so familiar to any Indian that it shocks you at first. The bustling streets, the jarring noise of the traffic, vendors on street corners, the fruit and vegetable hawkers with pushcarts, kids working at garages or supplying tea from a local stall, and Amitabh Bachchan!
Bachchan Frenzy – If you are an Indian, you will be greeted and the next word you hear is “India? Amitabh Bachchan!”
They like Indians because of Amitabh Bachchan. They love his movies.
Now that I have drafted my new peace treaty between India and Egypt, let’s move on shall we!
Is it coffee in my shower?
Spoiler Alert! – Nile
Don’t be surprised when you see the colour of water, it is not as clear as most of us are used to. “Yes” it is slightly brown and “No” the helpdesk can’t help you.
You can always purchase bottled water for drinking. They sell them on the streets everywhere.
Egypt also has a steady supply of water to their water booths around the city. Few cups dangle around these booths, which are shared by everyone.
Water is a touchy subject for Egyptians, so avoid it if possible. Of course you can always say “Nile is beautiful” and get away with it.
Something I noticed, Gasoline prices are cheaper than water. Go Figure!
You always find people give you mixed reactions. Contradiction is in the air, you can smell it. For most part Egypt is undergoing reform hence there is bound to be confusion, so there is that.
The major reason is the ideology of young and the old. People are torn apart by modern ideas and religious beliefs.
On one hand, the country has welcomed the idea of booze and bikinis on its beaches to boost their tourism by 500%. On the other hand there are groups of people who believe that Pyramids, Sphinx and other monuments shouldn’t be directly seen by foreigners as that is ‘Haram’, so they want to be covered it in Wax to make it ‘Halal’.
It’s A Bird … It’s A Plane …It’s …!
Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. The infant of Krypton is now the Man of Steel: Donkey!
Donkeys are a common sight around the country and you can see the being used as a mode of transport. You will also find kids or young adults using them as a mode of commutation. It’s quite common for young adults and at times even kids to work in farms, fishing etc., since the economic condition is not as good as it used to be in the past due to the fall of tourism post Reform.
Take notes from the epic sales pitch!
Persuasion, Flirting, Yelling, Empathy, Brotherhood, instilling discomfort, every trick in the book is used to sell even the most insignificant thing that Egypt has on offer.
Tourism is the spine of Egypt apart from the Nile of course. Since the decline of tourism the once persuasive salesmen have gone aggressive and come across as quite discomforting. That aside, they are fun to talk with. They share amazing experiences and give you an insight about Egypt that you never get elsewhere.
Can you share a nice ringtone brother?
If there is one thing that has made inroads in Egypt with the best 21st century has to offer, it is the ‘mobile phone’.
Egyptians are glued to their mobile phones, and love to show off their awesome new ring tones from around the world. In fact they ask you to share any ringtone you might have.
Oh, they love to use the ‘brother’ word to address you. It’s both comforting and welcoming.
Why are the buildings so naked?
One glance at the city landscape and you see that most of the buildings are not completed. They are almost naked in a way. Buildings have exposed bricks and metal wireframes; they don’t have doors or windows. It looks like the whole city is under constructed.
Apparently, once the building is complete, the residents have to cough up a hefty tax. So, the whole country decided to stay at construction sites, pretty much. Don’t be fooled by the outlook, the inside of these buildings are as complete as it can get.
“If this is 5000 years old, how did such a huge granite column get up there?” – Karnak Temple
“How did they get these stones up there, and who cut this granite so fine?” – Pyramids
“Am I really seeing this?” – Hatshepsut
Every monument you see, every story you hear you are awestruck no matter where you are from. The history of this great nation that was the first in many things that you begin to wonder what ever happened to this great culture. Love it or you hate it, Egypt is still the best travel destination that answers the questions about how civilizations florished, and how technologically advanced people were 3000 – 6000 years ago.
“The bad times are behind us, the reform is here, and greatness lies ahead” – Egypt
Don’t forget to leave your comment. – Have you been to Egypt, or are you planning to?