>Pharaonic journeys…

>Well folks, Im back after a high speed trip from the land that birthed Osiris, Anubis, Horus, Ramses, Akhenaton, Seti, Cleopatra and so many other names that have become commonly known the world over(largely thanks to hollywood I think!).
In any case, Ive decided to create a travel journal for this trip to the land of my dreams and fantasies, the place that could have been the beacon of civilisation and progress. So for the next few postings folks, bear with me (if you dont care) and for those that do, hope you find this useful… any and all questions are welcome. Pictures will be added as and where I have good shots.
Cheers and enjoy!

Day 1:
Arriving in Cairo after a gruelling 16 hours of flying and (mostly) waiting at airports, it felt almost like being home again to the Delhiite in me. The cars, traffic jams, people smoking openly when and where they felt like; the look and feel of the city was so much like India that for a time I was quite shocked and confused (ok, that could have been the travel fatigue!) but fell in love with it almost instantaneously. The bustling throngs, the flowing cars and the constant hum that was so homey was just my speed – that and the plethora of hookahs to be found at any and every corner should you choose to sit and have a smoke with your tea or coffee.
But before I get into the things that fascinated me about the locals, let me talk a little more about the city itself. It’s truly a shining example of the potential of developing countries if worked properly. Unlike most countries in that region, and specifically their Arabic neighbours, they have taken what they’ve gotten and really tried to make the best out of it. They’ve built free-roaming expressways throughout the city that I might compare to those I saw some years ago in New York (and these ones didn’t have toll stops every 100 metres), the architecture shows a desire to respect and honour the old styles and pay homage from time to time and all the while trying out a variety of new and interesting styles. Though some of them could be called really ODD, you cannot make an omelette without going through a few bad eggs to get to the good ones (to mangle a good line…).
Cairo’s quite unlike the kind of city you’d expect in an openly Muslim majority country. Sure they have their share of issues with hardliners like every Muslim state but by and large are a damn good model for folk to start trying to adapt and work into other existing systems across the globe. Here there is by and large a sense of understanding and tolerance that I had not expected (it helps that they LOVE – and I mean LOOOVE – Indians, all thanks to Amitabh Bachan). For anyone who’s travelled to the gulf region at anytime or been in a Muslim majority area, you will know well and remember the nimaaz times and how everything comes to a standstill and the whole city can ring with the loud speakers turned on from the Masjids. Well, here there’s no such thing as that. Don’t misunderstand, the people who follow Islam here are very devout in their beliefs, but they are neither fanatical nor obsessive as tends to happen far to often these days. At the appropriate time, the Muslims – wherever they are or whatever they’re doing – will stop and do their prayers in silence. By the way, when I say anywhere, I mean ANYWHERE! To illustrate: I saw one guy stepping out of the moving pedestrian traffic, step to a small corner on the side and just lay down his mat, face the right way and pray quietly; another example, I went to the airport information booth on one occasion and had to wait patiently as it was prayer time and the info man was doing his prayers in the booth itself.

Ok, I’ve blathered enough about the socio-political scene for the time being. This little matter shall be revisited at a later time (probably at the end of this little travel journal). For now I’m going to close this entry as my first day in Cairo was mostly a drive by style tour of the city in true ‘fast and furious’ style with a jovial driver with whom I had dozens of debates every time I got into his car ranging from the history of Egypt to the present government, the Muslim world, Arabic style music and many others. I ended the day with some local beer, which is happily called Zakara King and is incidentally 10% alcohol. So a couple of those post dinner and I slept a good nights sleep to readjust the body and from the next day began to dive headfirst into this, the Land of the Pharaohs, my Graceland!!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. >Yes, I know. It hits your senses like just another part of India. But maybe countries like Egypt and Greece resemble India so much in their inherent nature because the civilizations were so connected to each other. I love the fact that it’s amongst the rare Muslim cities where a woman can smoke openly. And anyone who undermines the importance of that freedom is an asshole.

  2. Anki says:

    >Duuuuudeeeeee… i m like totally jealous n all:P

  3. The Dude says:

    >llg:I know exactly what you mean! As an Indian, its so much like home, I can barely begin to explain it…Im still trying to figure out why the resemblance is there, though you may be right, I think it goes deeper then that… Ill have to get back to you on this one!anki:If you think youre jealous now, wait until we’re a few posts into this little trip!cheers…

  4. Renovatio says:

    >Damn, I’m waiting for more, I am, I am.

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