yesterday was our last night in dahab. it was kinda sad to be leaving as we had gotten pretty used to hanging out here. but, it’s time to move on. before we left, i had to take a taxi down to the bus station to pick up our bus tickets. there aren’t really any taxis in this town, just random men either hanging out by a bridge, or driving by in their pick up trucks and yelling “taxi” at you! so i found one of these guys and had him take me to the bus stop…
on the way we got to talking a bit. he got really really excited when i told him i was from america. “ohhh america!! i love america!!!” then he started asking me if there was anyway for him to come to america to get his doctorate. “i really want to study in america! if i get doctorate here from egypt, it means not much, but if i have doctorate from !!America!! it means so much!”. he really wanted to know if there was anyway that i could help him acquire a visa to get into the country. now, i know absolutely nothing about how things like this work. what would i need to do to help an egyptian come study in the states? not only that, but i mentioned that i wont be home for another 9 months!!
well, he gave me this pleading look, and so i told him that i’d do what i can if i can. i gave him my email, and he said that he’ll email me in 9 months. poor guy. when i asked him about his current job, he told me that he works at a school teaching PE. but if someday he gets doctorate, he can teach at the university. apparently, even though he has a teaching job now, he still barely makes enough money to get by. at the end of the day, when he gets off of work, instead of going home to relax, he has to stand around by the bridge and beg tourists to give them taxi rides. and this is someone who apparently already has a masters degree…. what a life.
we got on the bus, and had the long ride to cairo. there were tons of checkpoints on the way, and the police would come onboard and check passports. we tried to sleep, but it’s nearly impossible in those cramped seats, especially w/ our governor’s performance in “collateral damage” being blasted at 1000 decibels on tv. we finally managed to sleep while breathing the delicious carbon monoxide, only to be awakened at 6am by the loudest most grating arabic music known to man. nice touch!
we had heard a lot about cairo. mostly bad things. well, ok, actually *all* bad things. other than seeing the pyramids at giza, cairo was described as a dirty, filthy, overcrowded city filled w/ locals whose sole purpose is to hassle you or be rude. well, in some ways, it lived up to it’s promise. upon exiting the bus, i hadn’t even gotten my first foot to touch the ground when someone came up to me yelling “which hotel? which hotel? WHERE YOU GO???”. i was barely awake, extremely tired, and the last thing i wanted was to be yelled at. we spent the next 15 or 20 minutes calling a couple hotels, and trying to get a taxi, while these two guys constantly barked in our ears trying to get us to go their hotel. after getting ripped off on some cab fare, we checked out a few dumpy and/or full hotels before we finally found a place to stay. *phew*.
we decided to start out or day at the egyptian museum. now, this place is huge. ok, to call it huge is an understatement. according to the book, if you spent just one minute at each piece in the museum, you would end up being there for 9 months! luckily, we found a guide to show us just the highlights in his speedy 1.5 hour tour. this guy was hillarious. apparently his name was moses, and after dubbing us the “sunshine group” he raced around the museum shouting out “sunshine group!!! follow moses!” not only that, but upon arriving to any exhibit, he would just shove all the people there out of the way to make room for us. there were many startled angry glances from the shoved tourists, but no one dared to mess w/ the crazy old man!! all in all the museum was pretty cool. lots of really neat stuff that was lliterally 5,000 years old!
we later spent some time walking around. i defintely have mixed feelings about this town. on one hand, i keep thinking “wow, it’s *cairo*!!!”. but on the flipside, i just keep thinking, wow… it really is dirty. we walked up to the nile. ugh. through the filthy haze, you could almost barely not make out the other shore. the bank was completely polluted w/ garbage all over the place. it was difficult to breathe. hrm. not to mention the constant looks from everyone around. now, these weren’t the curious looks that we received in syria… these were much more critical, unfriendly looks. we got a quite cheery “fuck you!!” from some kid walking by. *sigh*. what can you do? who knows though… maybe it just seems bad cause we’re all so tired. maybe it’ll be nicer tomorrow.. we’ll see!