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Published: September 11th 2010
The flights from Kuwait were pleasant enough which is just as well ,since we went via Dubai and Tunis.After an overnight in Tunis and a close body search at the airport on departure, Philip's Tunisian money was confiscated. Those Dinars were only returned after some smart talking-no mean feat considering the conversation was in french. Pulled aside on arrival in Algiers,the luggage was singled out for close attention-the xray seeing something suspicious. Minus one pair of binoculars and a GPS we left the airport with a piece of paper to collect them on return. Then there came the tussle with the taxi drivers-No amount of haggle made a difference- Just a shrug of the Ramadan weary shoulders. What a beautiful place is Algiers-perched on the side of hills with roads winding down to the port and perfectly shaped bay-old French buildings decaying with little evidence of any maintainance since WW2.Everwhere Arabs in their flowing gowns and women in black with all parts covered. In the 15 kms to the Centre-ville there must have been >10 roadblocks and there were police on foot with machine guns every 30 meters in the centre. Hotel Suisse is sweet and we are on the 2nd
floor overlooking the street scene with a little balcony.The next day we went to the historic St George Hotel and it was all we expected and more -This was what we had come to see. Arriving by taxi the first thing is security-gun toting guards open bonnet and boot look at occupants and under the car then the electric bollards are released and on we go. The foyer is entered through a security screening and carry bags etc through xray-at least nothing was confiscated this time. It is no wonder that every singe male child in this place carries a toy gun.
Dwight Eisenhower had his headquarters here in 1943 as he planned the invasion of Europe. This hotel is very historic slightly decaying with beautiful gardens and galleries of photos of famous guests.We couldn't help but have a beer,bottle of wine and a slap up lunch in the 5 star dining room. Eid started and there was much celebration in the streets -unfortunately not many restaurants open-in fact we ended up eating pizza at a small stall. We met Reda ,a friendly taxi driver and we hired him to show us the list of things we had composed./,Notre Damr
D'Afrique,Martyres Monument,Port, Mosque Ketchaoum and Medina and Casbah.
All in all Algiers has been a good experience and it is on to Tunis tomorrow and meeting up with a backpacker group to push on to Libya.
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