Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Leg Two: I Just Need An ATM

I got off of the train in Cairo and had really very little idea of where I was supposed to go. I recieved much contradictory information from friends, strangers and policemen before finally going to the police station located by the exit and asking them. I walked in with my biggest American smile and started speaking in Arabic, explaining my situation with a fluency that surprised me even more than it surprised them. I was passed from one cop to another maybe five or six times before one guy took me to the INFORMATION station where the lady behind the desk first complimented my Arabic and then told me exactly what I needed to know. The bus station was 10 minutes away by cab and the next bus to Taba left at 10:15pm. This meant that I had 3+ hours to kill.

The first cabbie wanted 35 LE for the drive. I was ouraged. He brought it down to 20 LE, and I was still disgusted. He yelled at me for a bit but I just ignored him and found a cabbie who would do it for 10. I got to the station, bought my ticket and some coffee which I decided NOT to drink immediately after I received it a) because it was terrible and b) because I had the ridiculous thought that I might try and sleep on the bus to Taba. After I paid 6 LE for the undrunk coffee, I realized I needed money for the border. Turns out: No ATM in the bus station. Great.

Long (LOOONNGG) story short, I spent the dusk and early night hours lugging my life around to the point where I had serious bruises on my hip bones and burns on my shoulders looking for the Official Building for the Bank of the Pyramids. Not the most fun time to be out in Cairo as a lone white woman. I felt like the Israelites in search of the Promised Land, only the bread I'd stolen from lunch that day was leavened. I also made friends with the guys at the information desk. I told them that there was no paper in the bathroom and one guy ran and bought me a pack of tissues. I was only slightly more thrilled than creeped out.

Stay tuned for Leg Three, "How Two Sketchy Middle Aged Men Made Shev's Night Extremely Long" . Til then, enjoy some Ivri Lider whose concert I went to the night I arrived here in Israel (FOR FREE...Thank you Edgar Bronfman!). This (New People) is the first song he played...Loves it.

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