7 – Cairo orientation 101

3rd Dec, 2000hrs, New Palace Hotel, Downtown Cairo
I haven’t gotten out of bed all evening, having free wifi in your hotel is bad. It is keeping me from exploring Cairo. Started the day in the overnight bus from Siwa to Cairo. There was a draft under the bus and everyone was cold. During a rest stop, I geared up in my balaclava, thick industrial gloves and hid inside my sleeping bag. Slept like a log after.

Reached Cairo early morning 8am, got a place recommended by Eba, the New Palace Hotel. Free  wifi was the clincher. Unloaded and off I went to try the Cairo metro to Doqqi district (1 EGP). The Singapore embassy there is where I will request for the Letter of Introduction that’s needed to apply for a Sudanese visa. After several rounds of wandering the area (omar adnan sadiqi street, perpendicular to Babel Street), and finding the Chad and Mozambique embassies along the way, ia finally found Singapore. It was a simple affair, give your passport over and voila, in 10 minutes. No fees either. And to answer the question “Why not get the LoI in Singapore before you leave?” the answer is clear: The whole thing was in arabic. =)

the efficient metro system

More or less, got my orientation in Cairo downtown. Tried taking the metro, found the bus terminal. All needed when i’m back here next week with limited time. On the way back, had my first taste of kushairi, a mish mash of rice, spaghetti and macaroni soaked in tomato based sauce, shallots and beans (large 3 EGP). I don’t think my stomache agrees with the mix. But it is cheap and filling. Came back into the hotel, got connected enough to even watch last week’s episode of Survivor.

After speaking to the hostel guys, I decided to make a move to Dahab tonight. Yes i know it’s crazy, another consecutive night of overland bus travel. I tell myself I’ll slow things down and just settle in Dahab for a couple of days. Leaving on the 0030hrs train later.

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