"Friendly, chaotic, polluted, fascinating..." Cairo by colin_bramso
Cairo Travel Guide: 3,983 reviews and 9,581 photos
The historic things - the pyramids for example - are mind-boggling, even though you've seen them a million times in photos and films.
But everywhere is dirty, polluted, uncared for and crumbling, there's garbage lying around everywhere, the traffic is horrendous. Everyone expects a tip - Geina was guided across a dangerous road by a traffic cop and he had to be tipped, for example.
And around the tourist sites and the hotels the security is oppressive and, to me, disconcerting rather than reassuring.
The ancient artifacts, conveniently so close to the city, are a true wonder. There's the classic Three Pyramids of Giza & the Sphinx, but also the less spectacular and, I thought, more interesting first pyramid.
That one was stepped, rather than the later sheer-side shape, because presumably the engineers hadn't worked out how to do it. The inside of the tomb with the hieroglyphics is just mind boggling - the minute detail on them, the depiction of daily life is astonishing. I could spend many days in there just reading the stories depicted by the hieroglyphics.
The Egyptian Museum has an astonishing collection of treasures, from the gold mask of Tutankhamun to mundane every-day items.
Contrasted with the ancient civilisation is the modern city - and it's a step backwards! Like all cities it's swamped by traffic, but unlike many others there are no emission controls - or if there are no-one obeys them. I've never seen so many old cars driving around - typical are the the taxis, which are all 1970's Fiats. The pollution is truly awful. Crossing the road means risking your life because no-one obeys any traffic laws.
There is decay all around, buildings, footpaths, walls, roads all crumbling and uncared for. Added to that is the problem of litter everywhere, papers, bags, fast-food cartons, drinks cans & bottles are on every street, along the banks of the Nile and even all around the pyramids. I know that at least some of it is left by tourists, but there seems to be no attempt to clean it up.
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