Lucia has something to say

Monday, May 19, 2008

Egypt: Sloppy Traveling

If I had seen me in the Cairo airport, I would have me pegged. As an inexperienced traveler. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

It wasn’t that I picked the slowest immigration line. (I have a knack for that and can pretty much do that every time.) And it wasn’t that I went straight to exchange $50 into Egyptian pounds. (Which may have been my wisest move during my 2:00 a.m. arrival.)

It had to do with getting to the hotel.

This is a photo from my room window. It’s fairly evident now that I’m here that the airport is probably a 5-minute walk from the hotel and that if I had a really good slingshot, I might be able to clear the pool and zing the concrete wall of the air control tower.

After waiting for a hotel van, I gave up and took a pre-paid cab, which in many countries is regulated. Here, it appears they can charge based on the miscalculations of blundering travelers, which was, in this case $10. This $10 carried me and my suitcase, by car, less than eighth of a mile, right up to the door of the hotel where it was evident that the cab driver knew sufficient English to say, “Driver tip.”

By the time I stumbled into my room, I had dispensed a ridiculous $15 in tips for getting into the cab, using enough gas to idle a car for 20 minutes, and having my wheeled luggage brought to my room by a well-tipped hotel worker. I flipped on the bathroom light and pulled up my bangs to see if “Sucker” was imprinted on my forehead.

And sure enough, there it was. I couldn’t read it, of course, because it was in Arabic, but I’m fairly sure it was there.

2 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

Ha! Too funny! I got taken pretty badly once in Ethiopia too, and I try not to admit it when I'm trying to portray the persona of "experienced traveler". :-)

9:24 AM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

I used to see this type of thing all the time with tourists when I lived in NYC. I used to try and "warn" them, etc.

Well, I am sure you are still WAY aheard of the rest of us when it comes to traveler savviness. (If that's even a word.)

4:02 PM  

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