“Cairo is like Bombay”, I decided the moment I walked out of the aircraft. The air had the same spicy tang that greets you in India, the heat was like a warm blanket- just uncomfortable enough to want you to take a bath, like, immediately. The airhostess had handed me an Arabic disembarkment card. Apparently, she’d thought I was coming home too.
Things were only getting more recognisable by the time I went into the Arrivals Hall and saw a sea of expectant faces greeting me. I had a happy feeling that any moment I would be accosted by a taxi driver who would proceed to fleece me of the few Egyptian pounds I had.
And there he was.
“Madam, where do you want to go?”
“Four Seasons… uhm… Nile Plaza”
“Four Seasons, yaani? Ninety-five L.E.”
I did some mental arithematic and decided it wasn’t too bad if he was bent on fleecing me.
He looked surprised. Mentally, I was laughing. There is something hilarious about a cheap Indian tourist being swindled by some other nationality.
“Cairo is like Bombay”
Maybe not, Cairo’s traffic can make Bombay go to a corner and whimper. And, then, for good measure, yell for its mummy. The taxi guy made his way through a three car wide pile-up at the toll gate (which, coincidentally could accomodate only one car at a time) in super quick time. I was peering through my fingers, half fascinated by how the cars whizzed past without seemingly ever using their indicators.
I was relieved when we reached the hotel (which, in turn looks like the Leela Kempinsky in Bombay) and couldn’t wait to open the door… right in the face of an Alsatian who was enthusiastically sniffing the car to check for contraband.
Whoops. I am not sure I was paying enough to permanently disable one of their sniffer dogs.
“Cairo is like Bombay.”
They screened my bags. They flashed big smiles at me. They didn’t wish me good day when they left the elevator. I even watched the Simpsons on the T.V.
Next up: Alexandria is like Cannes with acne.