Making the best of it – Cairo

5th March 2008

I was supposed to go on a tour to St Antony’s Monastery up near the Suez Canal today, but the tour company got everything wrong and didn’t turn up! Bugger them, I’m still going to have a good day. Famous last words.

I decided to go for a walk-through Cairo in an attempt to find the Khan el Khalili bazaar. My first attempt at leaving the hotel was awful, I went in the total wrong direction and ended up in hassle city. The hassling isn’t too bad, I guess you just need to be thick skinned, but it’s so hard concentrating on crossing the roads (which is a near death experience anyway) when someone just won’t leave you alone. I gave up and came back to the hotel.

After about an hour of studying Lonely Planet, I attempted it again. First, I went across the road for some McDonalds, and I ate a McArabia burger, which is kind of like a kebab with garlic sauce…so yeah, a McKebab. They call the meat Kofta…whatever that is. I set of from Mickie D’s in the opposite direction, I ended up going through a pretty slummy area, under the bridge that I thought was awful last time I was here…I think I had hit the Bronx. I kept going, I didn’t find, Khan el Khalili, but I did find the regular bazaar, where everyone goes to do their shopping. Talk about chaos! But I really enjoyed it, most of the shop owners couldn’t speak English and therefore couldn’t hassle me! There were a few sickening sights though, like someone selling feta cheese that was covered on flies and raw trout on a blanket in the street. Yuck!

After that experience I went back to my hotel and booked myself onto a dinner cruise on the Nile. It was lovely except my driver insisted on accompanying me onto the cruise, which really annoyed me. I came here on my own for a reason, it’s so hard just to be on your own here. The belly dancing show was awesome… I got to be a part of it! The belly dancer sure had attitude and she made all these movements like she was going to slap me while she was dancing, and she was quite surprised I did then same thing back to her. She just stood there with her hands on her hips looking at me.

Night out in Cairo
All dressed up for a night out in Cairo

Then these boys with sticks came out and danced with them, they were very good, and you guessed it, I got picked to get up and dance with them. It’s always me in this country, no matter how many people are in the audience.

A male Egyptian dancer also came out and used me for audience participation, he stood next to me, twirling this tent like thing over his head talking to me during the show and asked me where I was from, “Australia” I said, he said “I think you not from Australia, you from heaven!”, wow cheesy, but I actually didn’t mind that comment too much. He then asked if he could have a kiss in front of everyone, I said, “Why not aye” and stood up and planted a big smacker on his cheek, he wasn’t bad looking either. At the end of the show, he bowed to everyone is all directions and then bowed especially to me.

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