Lesser of two evils?
I'll be honest. I am ready to go home. Like now. Egypt is just not doing it for me. Between the temperatures and the hassles, I feel exhausted. Part of me was so excited to get out of Luxor that I would have gone anywhere. Cairo is a big city with millions of people -surely tourists blend a bit more there. Less being harassed by every Egyptian on the planet. Bonus - it's farther up north and rumored to be significantly cooler. (By which I mean under 100 degrees) On the other hand, I'd heard from so many other travelers how crowded and insane the city is. How wild the driving is. And how utterly impossible it is to cross the streets because it's total lawlessness on the roads and road rules are unheard of. Lonely Planet even devotes a special text box on "How to cross the streets in Cairo"
"It may sound silly, but the greatest challenge most travelers face when traveling through Egypt is crossing the street in Cairo. Roads are frantically busy and road rules are something that the average Cairene has heard of , but only in jokes. Our advice is to position yourself so that one or more locals form a buffer between you and oncoming traffic, and then cross when they cross - they usually don't mind being used as human shields. "
Surely they exaggerate. Surely not.
I'll be honest. As I picked up my luggage and got ready to leave the airport and head in to the city, a not too small part of me was shouting - NO! Don't do it! Head to international departures and do whatever you need to do in order to get on a plane back to America. This part of me was silenced by the part that really needed to check the Pyramids off my life to do list. I made my way into a car and headed downtown.
Everyone kept saying how much cooler it was going to be in Cairo since it was farther up north. Apparently we're having a touch of a heat wave. I love weather.com. Temperature: 98 degrees. Feels like: 102 degrees. Really?? Feels like: HELL!
Ah Cairo...Again, words really do not do the street crossing process justice. As per LP's advice, after waiting and noticing that cars never paused and that traffic lights were either non existent or ignored, I would find a local and just cross with them. I can only compare this process to attempting to cross the FDR or West Side Highway lane by lane and hoping for the best. Cars are speeding behind and ahead of you and you just take it one lane at a time. The honking of cars is omnipresent. As in ALL the time. Honking at pedestrians, other vehicles and perhaps Allah? I think the entire experience was summed up when I finally saw a light at one major intersection. Instead of a man walking there was a green image of a man running. Seriously. RUNNING! *AND* cars were just wooshing past as if there was no traffic signal at all. If that doesn't say it all, I don't know what does.
Off to the pyramids in the morning...