13 Nov 2012

Tuesday Truths: At the Copa CaCairo!

Untitled Document Its another Tuesday :D
Last week we (I) discussed the issue of value focussing mainly on self-worth and the impact of social media on how you asses that.
This week I thought you might want less rant and more truth but as there are no prompts today I have to find my own prompt (as I did last week) and here goes...Twitsperation.
Its 9am and I have asked for prompts..a mere five minutes...as I am an impatient fool otherwise I will be hijacking the first tweet at 9.06am...
**waiting**twiddles thumbs**flexes muscles (ahem)**starts whistling**times up!**
I have decided to go professional and up market...so here is the...
Results section:
First suggestion...'lopl' meaning: this stands for Laugh Out Proper Loud
Second suggestion....complaint about my spelling :( Oddly I spelt it correctly above!
Third suggestion... was a wish for greater english vocabulary so they could suggest a weird word.
Fourth suggestion...'Serendipity' meaning: The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
Fifth and final...'Detriment' meaning: Damage, harm, or loss.
Ladies and gentlemen please join me in celebrating the triumph of Twitsperation. I may not take any of these literally but the first suggestion came from someone who has been to Egypt and so too has the Spellchecker, communication is what sprang to mind with the third suggestion, serendipty made an appearance and detriment is at the start of the tale. So to the masses that have arrived to read this, please get comfy and be happy that they're are all winners and I shall begin...its a bit long..seriously, grab a cuppa!

If you read Thursday truths, then you will recall that the summer after graduating from university I travelled to Israel, Jordan & Egypt, today I will continue with some more tales from that adventure. I am not sure if it is wrong to refer to a holiday backpacking with friends as an adventure, as I always think you need a magnifying glass to go on an adventure and I didn’t have one, but looking back it seemed like that.
After travelling around Israel (more tales to come) we then went to Jordan (our objective to see Petra) and from there we went to Egypt. At the time the backpackers’ haven was Da’hab and so we caught the ferry there from Aqaba, Jordan.
I have tales (of course) but they are not the subject of today. We had decided that we wanted to go to the museum in Cairo. Friends of my friend had told her that she had to be really careful in Cairo because lots of people (tourists) had bad experiences. I distinctly remember hearing how a man had been mugged in Cairo whilst he was cycling through. It wasn’t enough to put us off, but we did decide to go for one day, we would take the train there and come back the next day. That was the plan.
What wasn’t the plan was the fact that one of us had ran out of money! Ok, it was me. I had miscalculated my budget and it wasn’t until we were in Cairo and I tried to get some money out of a cash point that I discovered I had NO MONEY! I still had over a week left…luckily I found this out on the day that I arrived in Cairo. We booked into a hostel on one of the main streets (it cost about £3 a night) and I decided to do the only thing that any self-respecting twenty-something backpacking in the Middle East with her friend could do….I called my mummy!
Did I mention that it was a weekday? It was a weekday. I wasn’t a complete incompetent; before I rang my mum I went to Barclays to find out why I had no money! It must be a mistake surely. I can’t remember much about it, it’s a very vague memory, but I do remember being in the managers office telling him about it. He said he couldn’t do anything, but advised me to call someone at home (in the UK) and get them to go to Barclays and pay some money into the account and he will give me the money, he then stood up to see us out the door. I just looked at him and said so brazenly “Can I use your phone?” he was surprised a little but I did my best puppy dog eyes (I always carry a set) and he let me use it. I rang my mum and she then had to get out of work to go to the bank before it closed to pay the money in, because I was in Cairo and two hours ahead, I needed her to do it immediately because the bank was going to close. I left the bank with money!
The hostel was a state but I have never been one of those who can’t live without home comforts, over the weeks my friend and I had become veritable experts on napping, and hostellers amongst you will know the routine, you arrive, drop off your bags and get out! That’s what we did.
It was late afternoon and we decided to find an exchange bureau for my friend (of course) and the phone for me to call my mum to tell her it was all ok now.  We headed towards the museum just to know where it was and beside it is/was a very posh hotel that you could walk through and had an exchange bureau and phones etc. To get from the road we were on to the Hotel we had to cross a very large road called Tahrir Exchange. It is one where you have to cross in halves, you know; run for your life across the first half, stop for breath, smile at nearby road dashers and leg it across the second half. It was at this halfway point that I struck up a conversation with a local. We continued the conversation once we had crossed the road and we (royal we here – me and my big mouth) asked if there were phones in the Hotel. He was very kind and friendly and showed us where they were in the Hotel.
As we walked through the main reception area there was a lot of hustle and bustle and towards the back there was a spiral staircase, our new friend told us that there was a wedding going on and the bride would come down those stairs. After changing money and reassuring my mother that I could survive on £2 a day (thank god for crackers and laughing cow cream cheese) we decided to loiter in the hotel to see the bride.  It wasn’t instant. So in the interim, we went out of the back of the hotel to the pier that was beside the Nile, hired a boat and went for a punt. I decided not to have a go at driving it, my friend was feeling brave and nearly crashed us into the side of a cruise boat! Good times! J
A couple of hours later and we saw the bride descend the stairs and heard the music and it was great. Then our friend was arrested by tourist police for talking to us even though we told them that he was in no way asking us for money, which is apparently the plan, and yet they still took him in. He was very calm about it and we told him where we were staying so that he could tell us what happened when he was let go. We hadn’t meant to get him into any trouble. Anyway, we returned to our hostel and went  to sleep, at around 3am we were woken up by a member of the hotel staff to tell us someone wanted to see us – in all honesty, I stayed in bed because once I am asleep that’s it and my friend got up and spoke to him. It was all ok, he was ok, and she arranged to meet with him the next day for tea. Plus, we would be safer with a local than roaming around aimlessly on our own, we had experienced that a couple of times already!
The next day we went to the museum and were thinking we would stay one more night and leave to Da’hab the next morning. After the museum we went to have tea, late afternoon, and we were chatting when our friend asked us if we wanted to go to a Bedouin wedding that evening in his village. Obviously, looking back it seems ridiculous that we never worried, but of course we said YES! We waited for his friend to come in his car; we bundled in and drove out of Cairo to his village, and his family home.
The house was very basic and the family were gathered upstairs on the open roof area. Our friend translated for us and we were very polite and curious as to where this wedding was. We were both wearing trousers and it was suggested that we may like to change into a dress of some sort – we didn’t have any dresses with us and the mother said she would lend us some. Well, this memory makes me laugh until I cry when I think back to my friend, her dress was floral, green and blue and was western and quite possibly left over from the 80s, with shoulder pads, pleats, a sash and broach, she looked like Princess Diana did in the 80s and I being slightly curvier was given a simple shift dress in cerise with embroidery down the front – I hadn’t been more prouder of my curves from that moment when they saved me from a fashion catastrophe! Lopl
So we attended the wedding in the centre of town, everyone was sat on mats (like a giant picnic) and there was a small stage with a band and belly dancers, everyone expected us to dance too and how could we say no when they manipulated us with children. It was beyond awkward but great fun at the same time. After the wedding he took us to his friends house and we went out on Camels, it was amazing to be riding on a camel along the banks of the Nile in the moonlight, something I never imagined I would do, we spent the night sleeping in the desert with two strangers and their camels… the next day we went by camel to the pyramids in Saqqara and returned to Cairo in the mid-afternoon. Our total stay in Cairo was 4 nights and 5 days as opposed to our original plan. It was memorable for sure.
What adventures have you been on? Have you had fun in Cairo? Share share :D


  1. Wonderful tale. Sounds awfully adventurous for two young women in a far away place. Proud of you. My adventures can wait. Today is all yours.

  2. lol! Share them...share them...I love to share, i'll elbow you out of them way if you get too much attention! ;)

  3. Ohhh I so enjoyed that! I miss the Nile and although I never did it at the time...I have a want to touch a Camel ( No Kate...not in that way!..tisk indeed ! ).

    1. Are you sure? I actually prefer camels to peop...erm, horses!


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