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Published: October 10th 2017
From the air Cairo is compelling, a dusty monochrome of building blocks stacked and formed in rows. The sunlight cast harsh shadows emphasizing the uniformity of color style and shape rows of buildings looked like sentries. From the air nothing was moving. Sand, dusty ochre and red bricks, template buildings, blocks with window squares punched out. No relief. Treeless. No shade. One color. Sand. Hazy sky. Sahara dust. Temperature 34 degrees. A Lego blocks city in sand and ochre. With dust.
On the ground layers of Sahara dust smother everything. It's Grey in the sky. It's on trees leaves streets cars buildings. Some people too. Men wear flowing robes, cotton. White robes look pristine, greys and greens look grimy. Women with colorful Headwear open faced. Some though in full cover, wearing black, only their eyes visible. Voices are quiet though the guttural Arabic language sounds angry but that's only the sound.
Checked in to my room at the Great Pyramid Inn. Wow! They meant it when they said a landmark view! Lying in bed I have a clear close view of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. I sat in awe for a long time unwilling to move on. The
room was well appointed, extremely large all mod cons, a fridge with a dozen bottles of water. For drinking and to brush teeth with. Do not swallow the tap water under pain of death!
I'm exhausted from such a long journey over so many time zones but I defy jetlag. The schedule calls for a night visit to the Khan Al Khalili bazaar. My guide will meet me in front by reception at 5.30pm. It won't be Mohammed who Did the airport meet and greet. It will be Galael who is the Egyptologist I requested. My driver remains the same man, Salaeh.
A quick look from my window to the street below reveals chaos. Camels, stray dogs, horses and carriages, men in robes, cars, loiterers, idlers, piles of grass for feeding horses and mountains of litter. Horse poop. I'm already intrigued by this city. Cairo may be dusty and chaotic but it is awesome. This neighborhood lives!
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