Pedestrians VS. the World

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October 23rd 2007
Published: October 24th 2007
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We have officially switched continents!

Forget everything you learn in America.. the whole "pedestrians have the right of way" thing is not going to keep you alive.

One of the first things we have to do in any new city is to figure out on which level the pedestrians fall on the person-bike-scooter-car chain of command. In some places, like Brussels, we were pretty confident crossing the street. In Paris we just had to watch the crosswalk signs. In Prague we only occasionally feared for our life at the start, but got good at knowing when you could cross even if there was no little green man. Cairo crosswalks scare the crap out of us.

Remember Frogger? Yeah, it's like that. Seriously, the best method we have found to keep as far from death as possible is to find a local and make the zig zag crossing a half a step behind them. Despite this, Chris still almost got hit four times (five if you count in the taxi last night...). I haven't been as unlucky, mostly because I put myself on the opposite side of him all the time. "You're using me as a shield," he said. Yup, but I prefer to use the locals as a shield whenever possible because they have no fear.

Our first moments in the Arab world were definitely interesting. We arrived at the Cairo airport (after spending a boring six hours stuck inside the airport in Bahrain, which we couldn't leave unless we wanted to do the whole customs/passport thing) along with about half the population of the Middle East at 2:45 in the freaking morning. After in hour in the customs line we learned at the window that the visas we needed were only available at the banks at the back of the customs hall. Fortunately he said "go get it and come right back to me, do not get back in line."

It was absolute and utter chaos. And you wouldn't believe the amount of STUFF people were bringing back home with them. I can not imagine what it all was, or where they were coming from, or why everyone was bringing a jug of water (no one told us we had to supply our own water in Egypt...). It was extremely entertaining, though, to watch them all tying suitcases and random bags and probably their children to the roof racks of their rickety mini busses to get it all home (and that was before I knew what it was like once they were on the road).

After a while we realized that our friend, Amr, wasn't going to pick us up (it ended up being a bit of mis communication with the AM and the PM thing...) so we accepted the help of the nice man who had been following us around all night asking us where our hotel was, helping us call/shout Amr's name... It was 5 AM after all, and there was clearly not going to be anyone at the airport very soon. So we held our breath and got into a taxi for a death-defying ride through Cairo. Thank god it was 5 AM so the streets we reletively empty! he took us to an interesting hotel... long story short is that the people here are very nice, the rooms are very comfortable (though I do wear my shoes in the shower), breakfast is included and the internet is cheap. And it is warm in Egypt, which we have been dying for. Let's back up...

The day before we arrived in Egypt we were in Innsbrook, Austria (I love the touristy t-shirts with the kangaroo crossing signs that say "no kangaroos in Austria!") where it was 3 degrees celcius (you do the math) and SNOWING. Not sticking, but flurrying. Well, even flurry is a bit ambitious. Flakes were falling from the sky intermittantly. We loved seing the snow, but after so many weeks of cold to cool-ish weather in Europe we were excited to get to someplace warm. It was 30 degrees here (again, you do the math), and a bit of a shock, but we are happy to have the Chacos on again.

Also, the Mozart concert in Vienna was pretty cool. We played a few of the song in orchestra growing up, which made it nice, and it was in a really cool concert hall, possibly the most famous in Vienna due to the fact that they play the New Years concert there every year. Our tickets sucked (behind the stage, on the balcony, with nothing to look at but the audience across from you. You get what you pay for, right?), but we moved around and our fourth seats were our favorites.

Innsbrook was a cool town (Like Zermatt for the two of you who might be reading this who have been to Zermatt. Except there are cars, more people, and a bigger river. And no Matterhorn. OK, well, it's a ski town in the alps. There you go.) and we got to watch South Africa kick England's butt in the Rugby...


Sorry to cut this short, but it was a long day and we suddenly have to leave and go on a really jam packed trip around Egypt. Remind me to tell you about more crazy traffic stories, camels and the pyramids.

We won't get on the internet until probably Nov 1. I would like to give you some homework: When we were in Amsterdam watching the women work in the red light district we noticed that sometimes some of the girls would hang a CD above their door. Later they might take it away. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!?!? Please don't investigate while you are at work, unless your IT people are very understanding. Post a comment with either the right answer or your best guess (but don't tell us which it is!)

Love you guys



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