When I saw for the first time Cairo in the window of airplane, I was surprised by its size and color. I knew that Cairo is Egypt’s capital and largest city of the Middle East, so, I might think that it will be big city, but I even could not imagine that he would be so huge.
As a rule, the plane need about thirty minutes for a landing and during all that time we circled above Cairo. Houses and streets by orange-brown color, attracted me with its mystery. I thought, that I was in a fairytale of Aladdin and I had circling on the carpet-plane above the endless deserts of the East.
I have the feeling that Cairo has risen from the sand. Immediately reminded of the cartoon about the Scarab beetles. This was my first visit to the continent of Africa, and I really liked it.
When we were landing, the aircraft commander reported that the temperature outside is 40 degrees. When they opened the door of the aircraft, I immediately felt it myself, but in spite of this heat, I felt great. The next shock was the bus that transported passengers from the aircraft to the terminal building. Because in the bus there wasn’t the air-conditioner, there was open windows. And then I was thought: “Wow! I went back in the past”.
When you get into the terminal building you will need to buy a visa. The visa can be bought at any bank, which is located at the airport, the cost is $25. When you bought a visa and pasted it into your passport, you can go to the passport control.
If you are traveling alone and no one is waiting for you at the airport, then I recommend you to use one of the official city taxi. Taxi drivers will come to you immediately after passport control, before you get your luggage. But it is not only taxi drivers, which you will find there. Coming out of the airport, be prepared for the fact that you will be stuck in the crowd of the taxi drivers. Nevertheless, in order to avoid unpleasant situations, I recommend you use the official airport taxi.
One of the advantages of using the official taxi, is the ability to get to your destination safely and without gray hair. Because the style of driving in Cairo is different from all driving styles that I’ve seen so far. They drive with the high speed, constantly honking to each other. Thing as a line, does not exist in the minds of the Egyptians. If the road is lined in two bands, then they will go on it in four bands, or even five. In general, where there’s space, there they go. And even if this space will be very close to other cars, it does not confuse them.
On the roads of Cairo, you can find anything: cars, trucks, Indian rickshaws, carts with horses or donkeys, motorcycles, people.
Once I had the imprudence to ride from the hotel to Giza with one of these local taxi. I was afraid all the way and hoped that the taxi driver will not driven in someone.
Speaking about Giza. I am deeply convinced that most people have already looked at one of the most famous wonders of the world Egyptian pyramid, but for those who have not yet been there, I’ll explain what to do and how to communicate with the local sellers.
Access to the pyramids costs about 25 dollars. Pyramids occupy a large area, plus everything, on the street is terrible hot. Therefore, the prospect of walking around them on foot, looks rather dubious pleasure. But Egyptians, provided the service in this case, you can rent a camel ride, horse ride or in a carriage drawn by horses.
In the mean time, when you will buy tickets at the cashbox, you will be already swarmed from all sides of the guys who will be offered at exorbitant prices one of the aforementioned modes of transport. Be sure to bargain with them, and if you don’t like the price, you can show that you are going away, believe me, they will stop you. But, do not exaggerate, while trading you should be polite and do it with pleasure. Because those guys are trying to “earn money for a piece of bread”.
Another trick used by those guys, they will try to sell you their services at all costs, but when you will go to inside of the complex of pyramids, you will be surprised to find that an absolutely identical service offered by this complex, only a lot cheaper. A trip to any of these modes of transport will cost you 50 Egyptian pounds for a half hour.
Personally, I bought the tour from the guys, who have occupied me around the cashbox. And was shocked that I could buy the same services, but cheaper. I chose a trip on a carriage, drawn by horses.
Next mistake what I made, was to trust to the “kindness of the Egyptians.” When we stopped to take photos, we were approached by a man who offered to wind a scarf on my head, to make a typical photos on the territory of the pyramids. That day was windy and my hair was flying around my head, so, this proposal was looks very good. I gladly accepted, thinking to myself: “he is a caring and kind man”. You even can not imagine how much I was surprised and disappointed when this “kind man” began to ask me for money, because I did 3 pictures in his scarf. The photos were truly all-only three. I’m not talking about the fact that I forgot to think about hygiene, when I accepted this proposal. So, do not repeat my mistakes.
When I paid to the owner of the carriage, I add to its price of 50 Egyptian pounds, because I thought that he has to share money with the staff. How could I know in advance, that the guy Ahmed, who was driving the carriage, after the tour, will start to ask me for tip.
Here everyone is trying to earn money, but each uses its own style. With sellers, taxi drivers you have to bargain. What surprised me the most, is the fact that when you pay them for their services, and ask: “Is that enough?” They answer your question with another question: “Are you happy? Do you like it? “And if you say “yes”, they will answer, “ok, in this case is enough”.
Cairo, for me it is a city built on contrasts. This much difference between poverty and wealth I have not seen ever.
A great number of mosques in Cairo. Wherever you look, they’re everywhere. Different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, I have not seen any of them from the inside, because at that time, when I visited, there was one of the major Muslim holiday Ramadan. I did not went inside, because I was not sure if I have a right do it or not.
Market Khan Al-Khalili.
Traveling on Egypt, I had a feeling of grandeur. Personally, I had a feeling that this is a place, from where the world began. I’m sure the Italians will not agree with me, because for them “all roads lead to Rome”. But I will allow myself to say it.
Before I visit Cairo, I spent a few days at the hotel “Stella Di Mare Grand Hotel” in Ain Sukhna. I swam in the warm Red Sea, took a sunbathe. In general, I behaved like the average tourist.
Finishing the story, I want to say that Cairo has made a great impression on me. For example, the Egyptian pyramid, they hit its grandeur and antiquity. Yes, and the city remained for me mystery of East.