Cairo

November 16th, 2009 at 6:29 pm by David Farrar

On Sunday took the train down from Alexandria. Only had to “tip” two police officers today. I have learnt that the worst question in the world you can hear in is “Hello Sir, what country are you from?”.

In New Zealand, you ask somewhere where they are from as a genuine conversation starter. Here it is a prelude to a mugging. You see they have craftily picked a question that is hard to avoid without being rude. You are obviously from somewhere and your instinct is to say where from.

The moment you do, it is all over. Like a limpet the person attaches to you talking about how good New Zealand (land of milk) is and how much they like New Zealanders and just for you they will tell you something about the local facility. Never mind you didn’t want to know, or already did know. You are then obliged to hand over some money for this favour.

My suggestion is to carry lots of small currency. cai1

Anyway once I got to Cairo, checked in at the hotel, and discovered the swimming pool is one of those ones with a bar in the middle of it. Nice.

I’m not sure I have mentioned this before, but to respect local customs I have not worn shorts outside at all. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Now I have avoided the very hottest months but it has still got up to around 30 degrees, and even in shorts that is hot – especially for me who still has an internal thermostat attuned to Dunedin climate. So swimming pools are a welcome relief.

cai2 This is the view from my room.  What a great location to be staying. Met up with a friend, and we enjoyed the view from the balcony for hours.

cai3

Decided to go to the famous National Museum of Egypt. Even better learnt it was only a couple of kms away, so could walk there, avoiding a taxi driver negotiation.

The bridge over the Nile has these lion statues at each end.

cai4

The Cairo International Film Festival is very highly regarded, and a source of pride to many in Egypt.

cai6

The Cairo Tower. It is 187 metres tall and has a restaurant at the top. It is mainly used for TV signals

cai5

This is the famous Egyptian Museum. The sheer amount of artifacts is staggering, and you could easily spend days here. The treasures from King Tut’s tomb are amazing, as are his two gold coffins. The wooden outer coffin and the mummy itself remain in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Everyone says this is a must see, and they are right. Both the quantity and quality of material is vast.

Tags: , ,

12 Responses to “Cairo”

  1. Christopher Simpson (28 comments) says:

    Dave, I like the view from your room – was it the same price as my as my $1100 a night as it was in Paris when I travelled with you?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    Poor bastards. They are the slaves to the central planners in Egypt the Labour and the Greens want to impose upon us here.

    All such scum. Off with their heads (once they have paid us the largesses from their theft of the ‘filthy rich (anyone perceived as having money, including those with less than me).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..’Im not sure I have mentioned this before, but to respect local customs I have not worn shorts outside at all..”

    for which ..i am sure..everyone is palpably grateful..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Clint Heine (1,560 comments) says:

    David, you just got to get tougher with the locals! :) I can’t remember the last time I had to hand over any currency for nothing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Have to agree with Heine, and Farrar has provided yet another reason for permanent exclusion from the VRWC.

    The correct response when approached or hassled by beggars, because that is what they are, is “Fuck Off”, if necessary drop the shoulder. Trust me they understand the universal language of “Fuck off”, they can even swear better than most in English.

    Heavens knows how much money DPF would hand over in Bangkok just walking a block to the shops.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. David Farrar (1,808 comments) says:

    Oh I have no problems ignoring the beggars and touts. I have not paid them a cent. But when it is the effing Police hitting you up for money, it is more risky to tell them to eff off :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Ask for their Police number, rank and name, that usually moves them along

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Steve (4,318 comments) says:

    You could just tell the Police you are a citizen of the world.
    Then again, that may upset them too.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Clint Heine (1,560 comments) says:

    Yep, the old name, serial number and anything else that you can make up works a treat. I have offered to walk to the tourist police office many a time when a “copper” gets fresh with me. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Richard (94 comments) says:

    David

    Try asking a few locals, you will find that men can indeed wear shorts. (In fact they said “you are a man, you can do anything”).
    Its not rude, and they especially understand that you are a foreigner.

    Totally your call of course (like you, I respect local customs), but the friend I was with in Egypy for 2 weeks wore 3/4 pants for 50% of the time no issue, and shorts the other 50, again without issue. No one even “looked”.

    [DPF: Most of the time I have not seen anyone in shorts but at Giza yesterday there was a gaggle of girls in their denim shorts!]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Richard (94 comments) says:

    Oh, and re comments re police, 90% of the police you see are “Tourist and antiquities” police (I think that’s the name, all from memory).
    So they are there for the tourists – they are great if you have anyone hassling you just a tad too much.
    The police dont hassle tourists for money (well not that I have ever seen) but they do ask for tips (baksheesh (sp?) ) after giving service, so for example if you ask for directions it’s considered “nice” to tip (a couple of pounds, or 40c NZ is just fine) – think of it as a custom.

    I had one local go get me tea (they paid) in a market and then when I asked about a bathroom, took me there (walked me all the way) and then took me back – I offered a thank you at the end (baksheesh) but they said no, so they are not ALL after money.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Richard (94 comments) says:

    Oh .. and here is the best tip – they know English, they know a little French, and Russian (of course). They struggle with much else – so we found it VERY useful to make up some weird country name and say “No English” to them. That throws 99% of the “Hello Sir, what country are you from”.

    Oh, and since I just gave you advice – where is my baksheesh? (I will wait till you get back to NZ before I hound you).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.