62D. The seat number in the Emirates sky chariot taking me far away from my non existent husband, children and responsibilities, or, 62D; the cell number I was assigned for the next 13.5hrs? Judging by the odour coming from the girl next to me, it’s the latter 😑 Redemption story, she did rid me of the unwanted tomato from the underwhelming breakfast served.
Transitioning from a sleeping foetal position to the toilet, I see my reflection in the mirror. Wearing an eye mask as a head scarf #fashun. I’ve entered into a state of complete delirium, managing to lose my seat… on a plane, where all you’re assigned, is a seat number. Wow. Can life.
Touchdown UAE. Dubai international airport is the gateway into one of the most dynamic cities in the world… allegedly. I heard it on the “in flight lecture”. Fact about Dubai airport; there’s practically an entire department store dedicated to duty free tobacco products… like Coles, for smokers.
3hrs waiting for the connecting Cairo flight, staring through the glass, out to the run way, and all I can think is, “I’m seeing the sun from Dubai”.
Dubai to Cairo, I meet Youssef, a cinematographer from Cairo, on his way home from Bali. He gives me some handy hints regarding places to go and transport (use Uber, haggle taxis).
Uber isn’t working when I get to Cairo. A short Egyptian taxi driver with olive skin and blue eyes approaches me outside the airport, saying I’m his daughter, calling me his fourth daughter. Tired and keen to get moving, I haggle a price and jump in. No seat belt to be seen… Works for me. During this taxi ride, Akmed (That’s what I’m calling the taxi driver) wishes for me to have 5 children… ouch. Bit of a jerk thing to say, but ok. He also said, “I’ll kill you”… twice. It just rolled off his tongue, like, “hi, how ya going”. First time was when I spoke over him & the second when refusing his offer to buy me chips and take me to stay with his wife and family…. This taxi driver could’ve been my biological father reincarnated. Dramatic threats, then treats. Charming. Akmed probably meant well…. or did I translate his, “I’ll kill you”, to, “I love you, you’re my favourite daughter”? ….. #daddyissues. Not the best interaction to have first up.
An hour of driving through the dust, there they are, the pyramids of Giza. From a distance, you see the buses, camels and hordes of tourists running around the base of the pyramids. Not my scene.
I argue once more with Akmed when he deviates from our agreed fare for the trip. Making off with my life and a backpack that spans almost the length of me, I walk to my hostel. The smell of camel and horse manure fills my nostrils. The co creators of these smells line the streets, joined by carts. Ahhh nothing like large animal faeces to calm the inner country girl in me…
At the hostel, I meet a girl on the rooftop, Ala. Ala is short for an Icelandic name I’m unable to retain and pronounce. Ala makes her own saltwater taffy, is mother to a 3yo boy (whose name I also cannot pronounce) and is a self taught tattoo artist (amoung other things). The art work she’s done on her own body is incredibly detailed, Tim Burtonesque type pictures. We hit it off and spent some time walking around the town, finishing the afternoon at a local restaurant serving the most incredible baba ghanoush, overlooking those grand triangular ornaments in the desert.