We spotted the pyramids from the air, a pretty fantastic way to start a trip.
After landing, we got in line and made it all the way up to the counter before they told us we needed to get a visa at the place that looked like a currency exchange booth.
Just outside customs, our driver met us from the hostel. We piled ourselves and our stuff into his car and took off.
He was an outstanding driver, but if he were driving in America, they’d say he’s crazy. We might have even said that once or twice in Egypt too. He was cutting around cars, accelerating toward red taillights, swerving between drivers in adjacent lanes, and speeding by pedestrians with just a body-width to spare. He had way more control of that car than I’ve ever had driving, though, so although it was kind of scary, it was the funnest car ride I’ve ever had.
I tried to get some video of the driving, but it never comes off the same when it’s not in person. Instead, I mostly stuck with photos.
I took photos of the children leaning out of the window. I took photos of the two guys riding down the freeway on top of the pile of furniture in their truck bed. I took photos of the old buildings and the new ones and the ones still under construction. I took photos of the people running across the freeway in front of us. I took photos of the people waiting on either side of it behind us. I took photos of doorways and alleyways and a bunch of other ways we took on the way to the hostel.
And then at the hostel, I admired the plant life all over the place. I smelled the breeze as it sifted through the rooftop courtyard. I set my backpack on the bed and splashed water on my face down the hall.
“Welcome to Cairo,” the driver said as he took us to his car. “First time in Egypt?”
“First time in Africa,” said my friend, Rob.
I smiled. Me too.
“Welcome to Africa,” said the driver. And then we hoped in the car and sped off, Arabic hip hop pumping through the air.