Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid)
In our first 48 hours after landing in Cairo with an hour delay we took a cab to Ramses train station to take the train to Alex. The taxi driver wanted more then we negotiated and the train to Alex was more than two hours delayed. Ahlan wa sahalan fee MiSr. Welcome to Egypt. We arrived in Alex around midnight, had another discussion with another cab driver and then his colleague took us to the hotel of our choice although you could tell that he didn’t have clue where it was and arrived at our hotel just by accident. We had a lovely room with a view over the Med with only el Corniche between us and the sea. El Corniche is a six lane boulevard along the coast and divides the city of Alexandria from the Mediterranean Sea. It’s rather noisy, especially at night so we didn’t sleep an awful lot. The next day we got ourselves a mobile phone number. ‘We’, by the way’ are Anna and me. Anna is my friend from uni and who would have been Miss Scandinavia in another live with her wavy blond hair, big blue eyes with enormous lashes, great intelligence and charming innocence. It’s Anna’s first time outside Europe. When I am abroad -that is outside London and my native country of the Lowlands- I draw a fair bit of attention depending on where I am. Especially in places where they are not that used to dark fairies like me. Now, in Egypt there are quite a few dark fairies, especially in the south of the country, but they do smell the dark fairy tourist or expat from a mile away so I used to draw quite some attention when I was in Cairo last year. There happen to be very, very, very few native blond Egyptians so Anna is awfully exotic and turns heads where ever we go. She deals with it very well, considering she’s not used to it. Although I generally don’t mind being the centre of attention- I used to make a living out of it- I find it very pleasant that all the attention goes to my companion and only what is left – not an awful lot- goes to me.
Anway, as I said, Anna and I bought ourselves some sim cards and had a little wander through downtown Alex. In the evening we had our first girly night out with two other young ladies we know from uni, the four of us forming a multi cultural, multi national, multi ethnical and multi faith party. We had a wander, ice cream and milkshake and chilled on El-Corniche. Crossing el Corniche is not for the faint hearted and we did it. My friend Lou, who is an evil little genius from an indefinable Eastern European country and way too clever for my liking, just came back from three months Egypt just before I left and is now officially fluent in both Fus-Ha, which is Arabic for both Modern Standard Arabic as well as classical Arabic, and MiSree, the Egyptian colloquial, the bastard. He advised me NOT to cross el Corniche. But we did it anyway. Now there!