Squeezing the most out of life | An Aussie and a Colombian living life with a wandering spirit. Eight years together & over 60 countries up our sleeves, we're sharing the love |

First impressions of the great Nile city – Cairo

A few years ago I travelled solo to Egypt where I would meet up with other travellers for the usual gammit of Egyptian experiences; a float down the Nile, a camp in the desert, and a wander in ancient tombs. This is the start of my adventure straight out of my old emails to family. It’s such an incredible country I wanted to reshare my journey. Kris

Talk about hit the sand smiling! After a better than normal flight I was pleasantly greeted by a jovial and rather rotund Wajit. Flying in over the vast desert – a study in beige unfolded below. Quickly I was whisked through to the central city of early sunrise morning and my buzz started to build.

My limited Arabic learned affectionately from an old friend flooded back. My few words where met with such enthusiasm that Wajit insisted on taking me for breakfast – food being one of my favourite cultural endeavours how could I refuse? His ‘local’ served apparently ‘the best’ version of felafel, foul (beans) and potato salad all wrapped in bread. Followed by tea and apple shisha watching the morning unfold, I felt overwhelmingly welcomed.

After politely forcing down three times as much breakfast as I would normally eat I was dropped to my hotel. If my first impression was this warm I was in for a fantastic experience. The blaring tunes that roared from the car, the driver, Wajit and I singing a song I happened to know from a world music CD – everything combining to buoy my decision to visit this desert land.

A day in Cairo goes something like this…

Waking to what sounds like an incredible argument to find animated men playing backgammon with passion at high volume. Standing in a packed train carriage on the underground, black eyes staring at me from every direction – seemingly the only woman heading city bound. Drinking water and tasting sand. Watching out for pedestrian pot holes.

Wandering for hours through a cavernous museum and trying hard to appreciate just a snippet of Egypt’s ancient vast history. Eating juicy mandarins from a wide eyed child. Sipping shai and smelling sweet apple sheesha fumes. Smiling at the shy and proud women with clothed heads and envying their sand protective dress. Savouring kushari – a mix of rice, lentils and noodles spiced with chilli sauce.

Drinking fresh hand pressed orange juice from the street. The smell of warm bread as a cyclist rides by with it balanced on his head. Playing chicken with the traffic. Hungry cats. Sore eyes and very dirty feet. Crackly loud speakers blaring the call to prayer five times a day. Working out that saying ‘No English’ gets rid of most would be followers. Loving that. Exploring the local supermarket and dreaming of the cooking possibilities!

All I can shout to my inner voice is Yallah Egypt – I’m ready!


PS: If you’re wondering about the strange hair fashion I’m wearing; I was trying to be respectful. Covering yourself from wrist to ankle also keeps things nice for international relations.

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There are 3 Comments to "First impressions of the great Nile city – Cairo"

  • wow brings back many vivid memories

  • Tammy says:

    Amazing photos as usual. I have never been to Egypt, but the photos reminded me of Morocco. Especially the spices. How did you find the cruise? I heard that it is so popular that a lot of boats are overcrowded. I love the water pipe action by the way. 🙂

  • kris says:

    Hey Tammy, Egypt is definitely a lot like Morocco but with less beautiful architecture, so many similarities though – especially with the food. I didn’t actually do a cruise, I spent a few days on a very basic felucca with five other people on something that can only be described as a communal floating bed…I’ll share that experience as I repost my stories. As for the water pipe – those things are strangely addictive with over sugared tea, somehow because it tastes like apple you get the feeling it’s not so bad ;D

    And Tarz – you’re going to enjoy my Egyptain retelling then…although it’s hard to capture the feeling of the Grand Bazarre, the persistent attention and the crunchy felafels exactly 🙂

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