Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Greetings from Egypt

North Africa

Stardate 17/10/006
Now I am in Cairo, Egypt. Great to be back in Africa. This planet has many continents, well actually only 4...They are all so very different from one another. Similar in some ways but really different. I do a lot of changing countries. Usually over land crossings so the changes are usually more or less subtle. When one changes continents the changes are not subtle. The sights and sounds are vastly differnt from Europe to Africa.

Bucharest was nicer to me the second time around. After our pleasant stay in Suceava we took a nice fast train to Bucharest. About 7 hours. Stayed at Butterfly Villa hostel near Piata Domenii. 5 star hostel. Excellent in every respect. Highly recommended by me. Met very nice folks there and the owners and workers were very good. Much better than my experience at the Funky Chicken.

There is a great huge park in the center of Bucharest. Bucharest is called the Paris of the East. Well....Maybe if you havent been to Paris!! There is a large Arc d'Triomphe statue and a statue of Charles De Gaule and a boulevard named for "he of the big nose". They join up with the great central park.

Angela and I had nice walks and quiet times in the park. Good fun shopping in Piata Domenii and lively conversations with the guests and staff at the hostel.

Angela is on her way to Peru now and I arrived in Aexandria Egypt on 13/10/006 at the indecent hour of 3 am.

Hassels at the airport. My passport Photo does not look like me. Guard didnt believe I was myself. Finally I was permitted entry.

Taxi drivers all around the world are the same. I hate these guys...
Bargained down the fair from 52 pounds to 25 pounds on a ride that should cost 15. That took 20 minutes and 3 drivers.

First guy wouldnt take me anywhere but the Ramada. He promised I would love the Ramada. I told him I had a reservation at another hotel. He said it didnt matter Ramada is better. Is best!!I told him if he liked it so well HE should stay there I am going to Crillon.

Finally get dropped in the square nearest to my hotel. Walking around for an hour with my backpack until, finally, I found the place. I knew from when I made my reso that it was two buildings from the Cedcil Hotel.

The Cecil is famous from days gone by and all the taxi hacks should know where it is . Somerset Maugham and Laurence Durell used to hang out here. It is right on the Cornice. The beautiful boulevard facing the Mediteranean Sea. I kept asking people where it was but no one seemed to know.Finally found it. What a relief.

So.. I Get in the elevator. A rickety wild open door lift from the 1920s, Then when I get out of the lift I catch my left ring finger in the gate. OHH Noo!! Aye Zukes!!! I am really tagged out. Aye Caramba!! Shaaa.. I mean this really hurts. It is pitch black in the hallway. I get into the Foyer and ring the bell the light goes on and I see my finger is REALLY TWEAKED I am bleeding all over the place. Shaa Zahh welcome to Africa, welcome to Egypt

Night clerk says "Salem Alechem Effendi" and then he notices the blood...
Beau Coup bandaids and a good squirt of medicated anticeptic goo and I am good as new except for the pain and throbbing. (I finally stopped bleeding after 2 days) I think my fingernail will fall off next week).

Alexandria rules dudes!! What a wonderful crazed chaotic place. Arab cities in my limited experience, are all a littel crazy. Well I guess Arabs are all a litatel crazy !! The people of Alexandria are sooo Friendly!!

It is just great!! Everyone talks to you. Everyone says Welcome to Egypt!! Lots of big grins and smiles. We are invited to free dinner on the sidewalk with the guys who are selling olives in a little stall where we are steet walking and shopping. They have a little folding table with Ful (warm cooked beans with tahini and cumin) Delicious rice Pilof, sardines (fresh not canned) cooked three ways, salad, olives, pickeled veggies. A drink made of water sugar and dried dates. Warm fresh arab bread like Pita bread but smaller and thinner,and more stuff I dont remember now. What a lovely feast. Then they bring out the tea and baklava and In the end they refuse to even hear about us paying them. I love Egypt!!

So we hang out in Alex for a couple of days more go to some beautiful mosques and see some extraordinary Caligraphy paintings in a cultural gallery in a really cool building and check out the castel built on the site of the famous Feros Light House one of the 8 wonders of the ancient world that was toppeled in an earthquake 1000years ago but waas said to tbe the first light house in the world...Then we bus off to Cairo about 4 hours south

Day one in Cairo is just getting oriented and ripped off by taxi hacks. Day two we hang out all day with fMosafa who is an acquaintence of Peta who is a friend of mine I am travelling with Whom I had met in Turkey a couple of years ago.

We see the great Citadel and the palace of Muhammed Ali and the museum of the military and the old Islamic center of the city with its narrow streets and Souks and Bazaars and perfumerys and spice stalls and touts trying to sell you all kinds of useless junk and waterpipes donkey carts and donkey shit on the streets and this amazing coconut juice drink called Sobia and ...and...and...

So then we take a taxi and a metro (subway)ride and a bus and another bus and 90 minutes later we are in a tiny oasis village and having Ramadan Breakfast with Mousafas family where the food is stacked up to your eyeballs and there is so much to eat it is almost funny. Highlighted by this great soup with orzo pasta in a tomatoey broth and baby eggplant (aubergine) stuffed with rice.

All the veggies are grown by Mousafas brother Achmed. His mother and Aunt have done all the cooking and his uncle is just clowning with me and rubbing my bald head and He doesnt speak any english but hs is a really cool guy dressed in a shirt that goes down to his ankels and a cool little hat on his head and Well here I am and...Jaahh I love Egypt!!

So the next day we go to Giza on a day trip to see the Great Pyramids and the Sphinks. Sphinx is way cool the Pyramids are, well you know, they are pyramids...

I guess I have been to too many pyramides all around the world to apreciate them fully. Though they are the biggest darned Pyramids this kid has ever seen! Lots of touts trying to sell you imaginary goods and camel rides and "hay mister take my picture give me Baksheesh". It is hot here and dusty and windy. This is a harsh envireonment to live in this Sahara dessert.
Next we visit Saaqara. Here are more ancient tombs and the great pyramid of Zoser. It isnt as big as Cheops (the worlds largest in Giza)and it doesnt have the same smooth sides but it is much older.

It is the oldest stone monument in the world it was built In the year 2650 BC. We check out a few tombs and ancient hierogliphics and see the remnants of a great ancient civilization. It is staggering at how the old kings spent the time and money of their subjects building these huge egoistical monuments to themselves. It is such camelshit but such fascinating camelshit...
Well...Okay kids, Thats all for now!
Here is a quote to think about
"There is always something to be thankful for. If you can't pay your bills, you can be thankful you are not one of your creditors." E.C. Mckenzie
Peace and Love to all of you
Rambling Robert


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