If Chicago is the windy city, and Paris the city of love, then Cairo has got to be the city of contrast. Every extreme of anything in life is all around. You see it live as you walk the streets and drive through this huge, bustling and sprawling metropolis. On the same street corner you will find the latest luxury cars, a ‘thing’ that can barely be called a car and a donkey-drawn-carriage selling vegetables. This doesn’t even begin to describe the extremes one sees in this place.
I’m no stranger to this city. My visits tend to be short and busy. My experience is unfortunately always the same! This is a city that offers so much to be explored. History – ancient, recent and modern – is in abundance. It’s displayed raw and disorganised which usually adds to the interest of the reader. The negative part is the visitor-facing people. In my opinion (in my opinion!) they are a bunch of crooks, thieves and oscar-winning actors… and not in a good way.
Egypt has millions of nice people – I don’t need to be told this. I know some amazing Egyptians. However, in the same extreme contrast the city is displayed, those who face the visitor – hotel staff, taxi drivers, airport security, porters – are the other extreme from the nice general public.
You’re never too far from a smile – wherever you go – which is a breath of fresh air. But those who you are forced to deal with see you as an ATM machine. Their job is to get as much out of you as possible for as little as possible. Offering a service and doing it right are secondary priorities. Every time!
It doesn’t take me long before I become a totally different person. My trips are rarely longer than three days. My patience usually lasts only two. The third day is needless-to-say always terrible!
Whilst the photo below may not appear very interesting, it’s of the building in the very famous film: el erhab wil kabab.
I wish this great city would consider a significant change in their front line to the tourists and visitors. I hear it’s different in other cities in Egypt. I am yet to find out…