12 Nov 2007

Cairo, Egypt

Going to Cairo we travelled First class - my first experience travelling in this part of the plane. We had really posh seats - it can be turned into a massage chair at the push of a button and can also be changed into a bed of sorts if you wanted to sleep. We have our own mini bar beside our chair and if we wanted privacy we could raise the thin plastic wall between us. Since I sat beside Repin, of course I didnt want privacy. We even had out own steward to cater to our whims! He taught me to use the massager and the tv. Food was excellent - I ordered something typically arab, which included lots of herbs and some kinds of paste - kind of an appetizer. Can't remember the name though.
We landed in Cairo on time but there was a delay getting our baggage - the airport is old and reminded me of some colonial place. And the crowd! I've never seen so many people in one place except when I was doing my haj. Really, there were people everywhere. All colours, though mainly Arabs. And the noise - it fairly made my head turn. Mahmoud was waiting for us as soon as we left Immigration and after the hugging and the salaams, quicky ushered us out to some vehicles outside. But although the cars and van were already waiting, there appeared to be something else amiss because Mahmood was arguing with somebody for some time before we could actually move out.
My first impressions of Cairo? Lots of tall buildings which appeared to be flats, crowded and dirty - a bit like Jakarta and Delhi put together. Seen from the air it looked like a large sprawling city with the desert encroaching it at every corner. But we're not staying in Cairo - so will give my impressions later when I see it for real.
From Cairo we moved out to Mansoura - a city about 200km north of Cairo, smaller and maybe less crowded.

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