My Egyptian Journey
The streets are strewn with litter, Stray cats and dogs scavenge through the rubbish looking for any nourishment they can find. Many people wander aimlessly, begging or bartering just to feed themselves.
They pray to a God that for thousands of years has forsaken them to a desert land, and treats them with descent. Their rules are archaic as they swindle and hustle the tourists of opulence who swoon over their ancient ruins, and then return to their five star hotels.
Law and order is paramount to this new strong government who dictates it's rule, yet all his minions can be bought with a a slight of hand and a palm filled with cash.
The ruins are not so much the relics of history, but in the hearts of the poor and down trodden, they are a source of income. Yet the only ones to get rich from this are the pimps who send the young to entice you into their world. They will tell you stories of family and friends that live in the same place you come from, as to create a bond and make you feel more secure.
The roads are paved with dirt, the lanes are totally ignored, indicators never used, yet the sound of the car horns echo through the city from the moment the sun rises and well into the night.
I see people living without hope or dreams and only continuing on a daily journey of reaching toward tomorrow. I see teenagers in uniform, who have broken from the norm, yet to only sit outside tourist attractions holding high powered weapons. Their only job is stop the beggars and hustlers from approaching the tourists ho bring in the money for the support of government corruption.
I myself was prey to these predators, not so much as a pawn in their game, but as a deliberate observer who was willing to pay to gain the knowledge of how they construct their web of deceit. They thought I was not aware of their charade, yet I was manipulating, and possibly encouraging them as so I could create my story.
The dirt, the dust, the smog, the litter. There is no distinction of clean living areas outside the resorts. New Cairo is merely apartment blocks that look like Lego towers built by a child. If you have glass in your window frames, then you are considered more fortunate than most. The bricks lack mortar between them and the buildings look like they will collapse if a healthy gust of wind were to blow. Old Cairo is falling apart on a daily basis. Buildings disintegrating at a rapid pace with insecure fences wrapped around them to try and keep people away from possible danger.
I hired a guide to take me through the back streets of Cairo, to explore the things that most tourists would ever want to see. He locks his doors as for even he feels uncomfortable in these areas. I see an old woman sitting in the filth on the side of the road as traffic comes to a standstill. I put my hand in my pocket to pull out five pounds, but my guide puts his hand up and says "No!"
He then follows up to let me know that if I were to get out of the car to hand it to her, I would then have the whole street pounce on me and take everything I have, including my clothes and shoes. It made a lot of sense as from the moment I arrived, I have been offered alcohol, hashish women and even a child, after rejecting all the others.
This seems surreal in the moment, but it is amazing how quickly you get desensitised to it all when these bizarre offers come at you on a regular basis. I am not sure whether I should publish before leaving the country, but it's the thrill of the bravado that has brought me to this point anyway.
In the resort last night I watched a Christian wedding and the bride was a picture of beauty. Her wedding party was also looking amazing, and when I asked why it was in a tourist resort, the response was purely about safety. The Christian community is a minority in this country, yet they all seemed to be employed. This is not a comment or opinion, yet merely an observation, so make of it what you will.
I am a Godless man, and I will never bow to the concept or rule of another mans imagination. This sometimes gets me in trouble with the populous, but I don't mind, it can create some interesting debate and lose some people in your life that are probably better of not there anyway. Also by not be driven by others, I get to create adventures such as this one. It has been an amazing journey for my own spiritual being, and an experience I recommend to anyone who wants to feel and touch some of the worlds oldest history.
I would suggest that you go with either friends or a tour group as the locals are well trained to spot people who are on their own.
So as an experience in Culture and History.... Five Stars
As a place where you can feel 100% safe and free of harassment..... One Star
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