Cairo, Egypt, November 1, 2015

Culture shock!  

Cairo is a bustling city of 12 million  and I'm sure I  saw all of them today!  Traffic is nuts and there are people and garbage everywhere.  Honking is a requirement of driving and everybody wants to sell you something or be your 'friend'.

It took quite a while to find my hotel because the original driver had car trouble at the airport so he flagged a complete stranger down and had him take me.  We drove around the block a few times before we finally found the tiny sign.  There isn't one car on the roads that isn't scratched, dinted or mangled in some way.

I decided to walk to the Khan al-Khalili - a huge souk/bazar, which should have been about 3.3 km from my hotel.  I google mapped it and knew the way but a 'tour guide' intercepted me en route and sent me in another direction.  After 30 minutes of walking, I started asking for help and ended up getting in a community taxi van-


There were 8 of us headed somewhere.  Eventually, a woman got out and motioned for me to follow her.  She took me to the bazar-


which was also very busy, considering it's a Sunday and a lot of the shops are closed.  

Lamps for sale-


and hookas-


and clothes down narrow, garbage strewn alleyways-


Supper was at Abu Tarek, which is the 'temple' of kushari - an Egyptian specialty since the 19th century.  It's made with rice, macaroni, ground meat, lentils and topped with a spicy tomato sauce-


then deep fried onions are added-


and finally chick peas-


This huge plate cost $2.44 and it was very good - sort of like goulash.  Kushari is all they serve and it was packed.  The cooks are kept very busy-

El-Abd is Cairo's most famous bakery and it's just a couple of blocks from where I'm staying.  It's easily identifiable by the crowds-


The selection is amazing and the cakes are spectacular-



I had a decent sized piece for 86 cents!

Of course, none of these cakes was as special as this one-


Tonight, around 10 my time, Jane and Mitch are going to cut this cake to see what the ultrasound technician saw last week.  I am hoping to Facetime and be 'present' as they celebrate!

Tomorrow I'm off to the Sudan embassy to apply for my visa.  With the way things seem to work here, that might be all I get done!

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