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  • Day15

    To Cairo

    July 14, 2017 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    Today was primarily a travel day. We woke up at 6 after only 5 short hours of sleep from the night before. We said our goodbyes to the other divers over breakfast and then took off on our 3 hour transfer to Hurghada airport. The Red Sea was in view almost the whole drive; other than that, there were multiple unfinished buildings that sporadically dotted the desert landscape.

    While there are lanes on Egyptian roads, they're regarded only as suggestions. Our driver spent a lot of time driving in the left lane, and only cutting over to the right lane to avoid oncoming traffic. Fortunately the van's ceilings were high because he rarely slowed for bumps which would send us up in our seats. Nico's phone once flew out of his hand on one such bump. Needless to say, we didn't get to catch up on sleep on the drive.

    When we arrived at the airport, we said goodbye to our fellow diving friends from Denmark and Germany who were dropped off at the international terminal before we were taken to the other terminal. Our terminal was eerily quiet (it was the same one we arrived in) with only a few airport staff and security lingering around. To our surprise, we were denied entry and told that we needed to go to the other terminal by taxi. When we pointed to a sign that read "Free shuttle bus between terminals" he shook his head no and said "taxi!"

    We proceeded to the lower level where we found a taxi driver who wanted to charge us 20€ to get back to the other terminal. As we were walking away, we haggled a lower price down to $5, but it was still too much for the distance. We would have walked, but there was no easy pedestrian access (perhaps by design - taxi drivers need work) and in the 40C heat, it wouldn't have been pleasant. Once aboard the plane, we fell fast asleep on the short flight to Cairo.

    Our drive to the hotel in Cairo was just as exciting, or possibly more so, than the drive earlier that morning because of the additional traffic and lack of lane compliance. We fit between spaces that didn't seem possible and somehow made it safely to the hotel. It reminded us of the taxi ride in Jakarta and we were happy to have arrived at our cocoon in the chaotic city. We had a great view over the Nile river from our room.

    We ventured a short distance out of the hotel for dinner at a quaint little pasta shop in the 26th of July district. Crossing the street was a fun challenge. We also noticed several youths riding bikes without a front tire. It was an early bedtime for an early tour start to see the pyramids the next day.
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