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cairo, my luggage, pyramids, king tut, and pierre cardin

my luggage has now been located -- evidently the airline decided to give my bags a few days of vacation, and flew them to bombay, India. but they'll be reaching me on thursday evening, when i'll finally get a chance to pick them up from the airport (they refuse to deliver them to my hotel directly). of course i'll take all this outrageousness up with their US office when i return home and demand recompense, but for now i'm not letting it phase me and just enjoying my time around town.

cairo is full of friendly chaos -- the streets are thronged with cars, the traffic lights are mostly deactivated and blinking yellow, with traffic being directed by uniformed police officers standing perilously in the middle of it all. my usual method of crossing the street is to attach myself limpet-like to an egyptian pedestrian who is about to cross the street, and stay within a 2-foot radius of them at all times to avoid being run over. when nobody else is crossing, i enter traffic at a steady pace, my arms swinging at my sides, watching traffic from the sides of my eyes without making eye contact with the drivers (eye contact usually puts the pedestrian at a disadvantage), only slowing or speeding up my pace slightly if a car is actually about to hit me. (N.B. This is also the way to walk down the sidewalk as a pedestrian in Moscow without being hassled, although i usually add a slightly upset scowl to my face like the rest of the muscovites around me.) As an added bonus, cars in cairo at night usually keep their lights turned off, only flashing them briefly if they're about to hit a pedestrian. why cars keep their lights off is beyond me, but i imagine they're either trying to save headlamp life or somehow trying to save power. "guess i forgot to put the foglights in..."

lacking any changes of clothing without my luggage, i stopped in at a few stores in my hotel's neighborhood catering to the well-dressed egyptian gentleman, and came out dressed from head-to-toe in some oh-so-1970s pierre cardin clothing that i picked up for only a few USD. after topping that off this morning with a fake north face baseball cap that i shelled out LE 20 / USD $4 for (i knew i was paying too much and started instinctively searching for a hat that i could get for LE 10-15 before realizing that it's worth it to save the time and spend the extra USD $1-2, rather than waste lots of time trying to find the absolute lowest possible price.), i was ready to hit the town.

after having the perfect addition to my morning, a delicious fresh-baked croissant from a local p√Ętisserie for only LE 2 / USD $0.40, i'm reading to catch a taxi over to the pyramids of giza and finally see the pyramids that i've waited so long to see. my day yesterday over at the egyptian museum was already fantastic enough, seeing the treasures of ancient egypt and the famous items from king tut's tomb, such as his golden mask and throne. i've wanted to make this journey since i read my first book about king tut in 5th grade, and am absolutely overjoyed to be here and finally making this all happen.

there is nothing like living out one of your lifelong dreams to make little things like losing your luggage seem like nothing at all.

Comments (3)

Chanel:

I'm planning on going to Egypt at this time next year. How's the weather?

ty:

The driving-with-the-lights-off thing happens in parts of Latin/South America too. The logic behind it, which seems sound at first, is that lights require electricity, which requires the car's battery, hence limited use of headlights leads to longer battery life. This, of course, does not take into account the ALTERNATOR, which handily converts kinetic energy into electrical energy. A public education campaign could go a long way.

andy:

hi chanel! the weather is quite nice right now -- it's probably one of the best times of year to visit. december is techincally 'peak season', so you avoid some crowds by being here in november.

thanks for the explanation, ty. i had a feeling it was sdomething of the sort. isn't the idea of turning florescent lights on and off all the times to 'save power' also flawed, since the lights require a fair amount of electricity to get started, and a much smaller amount to stay on once they're on?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 22, 2006 12:28 PM.

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