Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Street walking

Literally that is- NOT figuratively!!!

WHAT a day. I cannot believe the traffic today. The Egyptian schools went back yesterday, and Ramadan starts on a couple of days and why those 2 things should combine to make the worst traffic ever I don't know- but they did. I was due to teach in Golds Gym, Giza at 5pm. I left house just after 4.30pm- usually plenty time to grab a cab and get there- I stood on the street for ages without any taxi wanting to take me where I had to go.......They slow down- you shout your destination- and then they wiggle a finger at you and drive off! I tell you it is the most disheartening thing in the whole world!!!

Anyway- I ended up walking............. WALKING.......... to the gym. Over an hours walk- in the heat- not one taxi would take me. I even begged one- explaining how far I had walked etc etc. I don't understand why, when the traffic is standstill like that they seem to prefer to be sitting in an empty taxi, not earning money rather than have you in the back but getting some money out of you!!!!! I, of course, arrived 40mins late, so my class had been cancelled (I had been calling in my progress the whole way), I had blisters all over my feet and felt like crying. Thankfully everyone was very sympathetic.

From there I had to go down town. The journey- that normally would take MAX 20 mins- not even that- took over an hour and half (mainly cos my taxi driver didn't know his way around the one way system in the town centre at all (they don't have to sit 'the knowledge' here unfortunately!!!) That particular driver asked me why I didn't take the metro- since it would have been much quicker and when I explained it was because I didn't want to walk in the street to and from the metro he said ah- but that is easy- just wear the heejab and no one will bother you!!!!!!!! As if that is even true. GRrrr.

THEN- leaving my meeting downtown I asked about 15 taxis to take me home- NONE would- until I agreed to pay one more than double the normal fare.

Then tonight- walking home from a friend's house, she lives close by, I couldn't get a taxi- so I though- 10 min walk, main road, well lit- no problem............... WOW- BIG PROBLEM!!!! I have never seen curb crawling like it. Very scary in some ways but so pathetic I couldn't really be scared that much, until 2 cars followed me into my side street, calling out all sorts of things all the way- at which point I jumped into an open shop and chatted with the owners there for a while until they eventually drove off. Bless the wee old delivery man even offered to walk me to my door- but I couldn't say yes to that just in case that was asking for trouble too!!!!!!!! ok- my fault for looking so damn sexy (!!!) and walking alone at night perhaps.........but how sad and warped are those men that they don't realise how desperate they seem ( and are).

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR it's on days like these I really wish I had the guts to drive in this mad country- or could afford my own driver with AC'd car anyway!!!

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