A Backpacker's Egypt Adventure

I arrived in Cairo on the 20th of December and had a couple of days by
myself to explore the city before Ash arrived in from the field, I was
amazed at how much the city reminded me of SE Asia, all the chaos of the
traffic, the incessant beeping of the horns, street vendors and hawkers all
plying their trade, you could feel the buzz in the air. I took the
opportunity of a couple of spare days to get completely lost (3 times),
scammed (twice) nearly run down (4 times) and sample the local Schwarma
(every meal). After Ash arrived we went to look at the Pyramids of Giza,
they are completely amazing, there size alone is hard to comprehend, we went
inside one of them and then went out n a camel to a spot where you can
photograph all nine pyramids together (breathtaking). after which we walked
around some of the smaller tombs, now Ash has a basic understanding of
hieroglyphics and especially cartouches so it was really cool to walk around
with Ash and read the signs and know what they were talking about. The next
day went to the Egyptian museum and saw a lot of amazing stuff. (they don't
really label anything in the museum so once again it was great to have Ash
along to explain things to me). One thing that it didn't take me long to
come to grips with is the art of baksheesh (tipping if they do something for
you or bribing to get them to do it)

Ash and I spent the next few days checking out the ancient Mosques and
temples around Cairo and then on christmas day flew off to Casablanca (where
the taxis are mercs and the people speak French). after a dodgy day in
Casablanca we headed off to the capital Rabat, a beautiful city with one of
the biggest and craziest markets i have ever been to (if there are 1 million
people living in Rabat then all but four of them were at this market). The
next day we went down to the train station to get a train to Fes, we were
talking to one of the locals who greeted us with the customary greeting
"hello, yeeessssssss, excuse me, where you from?" when we told him we were
from melbourne, aust he ws very excited as one of his friends in Fes had an
Aust wife, I then told him I also has a friend from Fes who had a shop in
Melb and he jumped back and said " a man", yes, i said,
"a big black man?", again i replied yes, "a big black man named Criss?",
"YES" i said completely gob smacked, apparently he knew him quite well, then
while we o the train we got talking to another man and he also knew Criss.
(Criss told that if i ever went to Fes I should just mention his name
because everyone knew and we would be looked after, I didn't think i was
suppose to take him literally but there you go).
I called Criss in the morning to let him know what had happened he gave me a
phone number and told me to contact "the Teacher". I thought this was a
strange name but gave him a call and he invited us around for tea, I
mentioned to him that "The Teacher" was a bit of a weird name so what should
we call you?, "The Teacher will be fine, i have come to like it" he then
invited us for dinner at his friend Ali's house in the Medina (which is the
really old part of the city still surrounded by walls and usually contains
the markets). Ali's house was different to say the least, apparently the
mosque had collapsed next door and his house had sustained some structural
damage (which he chocked up with wood) we were a little nervous therefore
when he invited us upstairs for dinner.....
Fortunately we accepted his offer because we were then rewarded with one of
the most incredible views i can remember, his rooftop looked over the entire
Medina all the way to the north fort. Now Ali didn't speak much english and
i think he may have been very drunk but he did like to talk about love and
said that he would like to marry several Indian girls because if he died
they would kill themselves and follow him to the afterlife, the ultimate
expression of love...... I pointed out that if he wanted to have more than
one wife it may be the Indian who sends him to the afterlife. That was ok he
said as long as she did it for love. "The Teacher" pointed out that you
can't killing things for love like chickens or goats. to which Ali sat back
indignantly and said "my friends, Love is not a chicken". There was a moment
of silence followed by 10 minutes of laughter (which might have been the
tea) but i think there is something in that for all of us............

We then moved on to the lovely town of Marrakech for new years eve, for
those who have been you will know what i mean when i say that the markets of
Marrakech are hard to describe, it is like stepping into the past, snake
charmers, sharman, street performers all vying for your attention and your
money. Two things became evident to us about Moroccans on NYE that is that
they love to party and they can"t handle their piss, hugs and kisses,
singing and dancing were mixed with puking and fighting, falling over and
rioting. All in all a good night was had by at least us.

On new years day we headed back to Egypt and caught the train straight down
to Luxor in the south where we spent the next few days charging around on a
motorbike looking at the valley of the kings and the valley of the queens
and the temples of Karnack an Luxor. On one particular night we meet up with
some of Ash's work friends and had a bit of a session at the kings head
hotel (the pharaoh Arknarten done up in tudor style, very classy). now they
have a little thing called happy hour here and needless to say we all made
ourselves very happy. we were at one stage challenged by the locals to a
game of pool with two cocktails of our choice as the prize, over the course
of the next couple of hours we lost about 300 pounds ad decided to stagger
out. we found a taxi driver who was sleeping in his cab and woke him, after
he jumped out of the cab to greet us we realised that he was completely
bloto.... and i decided that the only responsible course of action would be
that i should drive th taxi home.....................The TD was a little
unsure about this but since he was sitting o the wrong side of the cab
anyway it was easier than moving, now trying to get back to the hotel wasn't
as easy as we thought mostly due to the TD's lack of english, my lack of
Arabic, the TD's lack of direction an my lack of ability to sit in the wrong
side of the car and drive on the wrong side of the road, we finally got
settled and were driving down a long dark street when the road suddenly
ended in a six foot drop off......which only due to my cat like reflexes was
i able to stop with just half the front wheel hanging over. there was me
screaming, the TD crying and Ash and Paul laughing hysterically in the back,
with only a minimum of fuss we were up and running again when as we rounded
a roundabout Ash pointed out that there was a police car right behind us. At
this point the TD wa frantically gesturing us to pull over but i decide to
follow Ash's advice which went something like "why don't you just drive
faster" Not only did i do this but i did it going the wrong way down several
one way streets once again resulting in me screaming, the taxi driver crying
and Ash and Paul laughing hysterically in the back . To all of our
amazement our plan had worked and we safely arrived at the hotel.....

That brings to end of my tale and as I sit in this internet cafe waitng for
my train back to Cairo and look back on my trip to North Africa i think that
i will always be struck by it's beauty, it's friendliness, it's amazing
history and the downright craziness of the

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