The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, Cairo, Egypt
May 8, 2014
By Aleya of Cairo
OMG OMG OMG! Today I had an incredible, adventure filled day riding in taxis and buses and I just had to tell you all about it because it’s too good not to tell. hehe
So my adventure started out when I got into a taxi in Dokki to go to one of my costume designers in Haram. (close to the pyramids) I asked the taxi driver to take the freeway (the Daary) and he said ok. But when we got to the on ramp he said he needed gas so we were going below through the surface streets. I hate the surface streets because there is too much traffic, but ok what could I do? grrrr….
Amazingly the traffic was very light and then he went up on a bridge to go to Faisal street and as we were driving down, he ran out of gas! lool So we coasted to a stop on the side of the road and he told me to take another taxi. Great, so I get out and don’t even think about paying him but then decide I should give him 10 LE because that’s how much I think it would cost to get to that point since we were only 1/2 way there. Then he starts screaming and shows me the meter and it says 14.75 LE and I say “ezzay?” (how) and he’s screaming, I say “I lived here for 5 years I know how much it costs! ” hehe and walk away.
My next taxi I get into I ask I need to go to Sharria El Arish. He says “ok, but do you want Haram side or Faisal side?” I said Haram side and he says “well let me just take you to Faisal side” . OK no problem I can walk to my destination. So we go for a bit straight up the street and then he says “here is Sharria El Arish” and I’m confused because I don’t recognize it. But whatever. I get out, go ask two girls where Sharria El Arish is and they say “oh its up a ways a bit” grrrrr……..!! really????!!! and they are giggling at me. OK whatever! haha I get in the next taxi “Do you know Sharria El Arish?” Yes so its just about 3-5 min. down the road and I get out and walk but I was mad. Why would that taxi driver do that to me? ugh!
So I went to do my business and Doaa who works with me, met me there. Then when we left we walked back to Faisal street and I said “Let’s take a taxi” and she says “Why don’t we just take the bus?” Well it wasn’t a bumpy micro bus, it was a big bus and looked in pretty good shape and its only 1.5 LE (about 15 cents) to go to my house (each) so I said ok.
We were practically the first ones on this leg of this bus. So there is a guy that hangs out the bus yelling where we are going and that’s how they pick up customers. When you want them to stop for you, if you are on the street , you just put your palm down and pump your hand and that means stop. He hangs out the open door and screams the whole way “Boulaq, Boulaq” He occasionally jumps off the bus and runs ahead looking for customers. ha! In addition to all his screaming and yelling, they are blasting the BEST shabbi music ever! haha I wish I knew where to get all the music.
To the left of the drivers head is about 6 felt dice in green, yellow, blue hanging from above his window. The big mirror in the front of the bus, covers the whole entire dashboard and its so big that every time I look up I am just fascinated by the driver. While he was driving, hes drinking tea from a glass, he puts it down, picks up a cigarette and lights it, then his phone rings and he answers it, while he is still smoking, and the bus is not automatic either, hes driving a stick shift! hehe It’s bad enough driving in Cairo with the crazy traffic but all of this too? And I swear he was even texting or dialing while he was driving the bus! omg it was hilarious. At one point someone needs change for 100 LE so he pulls out his wad of money from his shirt pocket, makes change for 80 LE and gives the rest in coins. Talk about multi-tasking!
When we get closer to my house, I see cars coming toward us head on, and I’m like “OMG Doaa look at these guys driving the wrong way” and she says “No Aleya WE are driving the wrong way. He will drive fast through here because hes not supposed to be on this street, we are supposed to be on the street over one!” Whaaaaaat??? haha OK…..well it seems like they do it all the time because she was used to it.
So I got home in one piece. ha! I do have to say that it didn’t take anymore time than it does in a taxi. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t too hot today so I didn’t suffocate, and we stopped just a few blocks from my house and walked home. I don’t know if I will do it by myself, but with Doaa I was fine and we didn’t have any problems. No one looked at me weird (I was dressed as I always am in work mode, cap, sneakers, and yoga pants, sweater on my butt and no make up) . But it certainly was interesting and if you want to hear the BEST shabbi music ever then you can get on the bus when you come to Cairo. haha!
We snuck some photos. Comment below with your thoughts.
Have a great day!