Cairo is Poison for the Body, Mind and Spirit
We've been in greater Cairo for less than 30 hours and I already feel like driving to the airport and getting on the first flight out of the Middle East.
I've decided I'm going to publicly share (below) the e-mail I just sent to my father on the state of things here in Giza.
An E-mail to Dad…
Hi from Giza!
The family and I made the big push from the Red Sea coast yesterday, completing the final leg of the journey with one of the city's most inept taxi drivers (quite possibly taking my #1 spots for both dumbest and least sober driver to date).
Princess, Tatiana's friend, has recently renovated the flat we're staying in (it's very lovely), but I'm anxious to get out of here. She's currently in Florida, due to return in about two weeks for her marriage to an Egyptian.
That belly dance festival that Tatiana attended back in 2007 before flying to Manila to meet up with me is being held (again, annually) this month, starting up on the 27th. Princess is an organizer for the event, and I believe we'll be making an effort to be in town for it.
I'm passing the reins over to Tatiana for this country—she'll be the researcher and decider of what sights the family will be seeing on our travels along the Nile.
Getting back to Cairo…
The streets here are uncomfortable: loud, polluted, dirty, foul-smelling, hot, and dangerous (vehicular). The sensations are only amplified for us after the past two (quiet) weeks along the coast.
Our indoor life plagued with water outages (we can't seem to get more than two or three hours of running water per day); an inability to cook (this is a huge problem, as there's apparently no propane for the stove, no water most of the time, and certainly no way to prepare proper meals for Aidric); no Internet access in the apartment; and ants plus the occasional cockroach the size of a small cat living alongside us. There apartment was left with far too many perishable foodstuffs just lying out to rot, and that has attracted plenty of unwanted company.
Now this isn't to say that I'm not overwhelming grateful to be in this Giza apartment (complete with an awesome view of the city's famous pyramids, privacy, screens on the windows, Bath & Body Works lotions for Tatiana, and air conditioning in the bedroom)—lord only knows how miserable the experience could be in the budget accommodation in town—but idling and spending cash simply for the sake of sitting in a room with A/C and occasionally looking out the window for the view doesn't make me want to stay.
This city is just flat out gross—a giant sprawling favela of epic proportions, full of nosey, in-your-face people. We're constantly getting bombarded by locals sparking up conversation with us to try and separate us from our cash, although it's probably just because of our proximity to the pyramids.
It's beyond me why anyone with a choice—particularly with as many as a multi-national citizen such as Tatiana's friend—would wiling choose to make greater Cairo their home. Yuck.
Given the vehicular traffic (that forces us carry Aidric around because of the danger), horrid pollution, stifling heat, annoying Arabs, and lack of anything nearby to eat (or resources to cook for ourselves), I'm left grasping for reasons to be here. This is the kind of place that makes me want to dress in a full-blown burqa (posing as a woman) just to walk down the street unnoticed.
I've haven't broken a Wi-Fi signal in a while, but found myself on the roof of this six-story apartment building today in the afternoon heat doing just as much. A strong password but weak encryption protocol has allowed me to send this off to you this evening. Sadly, we don't get anything usable inside the apartment. As a result, I'm unsure of the frequency that I'll be online—certainly evenings only.
Given my displeasure with the (absent) water and street life situation, I imagine we'll be moving along soon—leaving some excess gear/garb here and returning to Giza in time for the festival. By this time next month the festival should be wrapping up and we'll be getting ready to head to Thailand for the rainy season (where we'll wait until the weather clears to fly to India, then back to Florida before Aidric turns two).