Oct. 24th , 2007 – 4U Arabic School

Cairo Travel Blog

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I switched rooms again at my three-star hotel and the new room (#301) also has a strong air of Cairo’s once-upon-a-time glamour. Unfortunately for me, it’s now 2007 and the place is crumbling. The view from my balcony is of the crazy city below that never sleeps. The Egyptians party all night long – smoking their water pipes and drinking tea until at least 4am every night. Cairo nightlife puts LA and NY to shame.

My new room has a corroded showerhead that is temporarily held together by three large band-aids, but at least the toilet doesn’t leak. This room is noisy, but the other room was much smaller. So, I traded one set of challenges for another.

On the street I learn that everyone is responsible for themselves when driving or crossing the street, unless it’s a fatal accident. If it’s fatal, the government pays the victim’s family and the person who killed the other will owe the government the money until he has paid it off – which means forever. My taxi driver insists there are few accidents. I find this hard to believe, because there are no streetlights or apparent rules for driving. But who knows? Apparently, in that rare case where you do hit someone, my driver says the two parties involved start off by saying strong words to each other, then scream at each other, then go their own way.

Later that same evening, my driver hits a pedestrian. The pedestrian (a man about 35 years old) waves his arms and says something in Arabic, and my driver responds with an equally strong retort. Then the pedestrian continues across the street, and that’s that. No cops, no ambulances, no lawyers. Simple!

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photo by: vulindlela