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Thursday, February 16, 2017

We Don't Drive

We don't have a car in Cairo, and while I am frequently tempted to look into buying one, my good sense reminds me that I don't really have the skills necessary to drive here.  The informal rules of the road are quite complex.  When you meet oncoming traffic coming the wrong way toward you, do you move right or left?  What if two vehicles are coming toward you in the wrong direction?  Watch this short YouTube video I made a few years ago to see how it works.

Even experienced drivers have problems on occasion.  I took this picture from our apartment window last week after hearing the screech of tires and crunch of metal. You can type the word accident into the search bar at the top of the blog to see results from previous years.

Egyptian drivers are very efficient at pulling the passengers out of overturned cars and getting the vehicles back upright and off the road.

We rely on taxis to get around.  They are abundant and economical.  For most trips nearby, we pay 20 pounds (Just over a dollar) and the drivers are always very happy with that.  The "flag drop" rate on the meter is just 3 pounds - about 17 cents - and is good for the first mile and a half.

But taxi meter fares have almost always been regarded as a "suggested starting point" here - especially when the passenger is obviously not a "local."  There was a brief period of time a few years ago when the government tried to get the old taxis off the streets and enforce new meter rates.  In theory, there are no more of the old Russian Ladas cruising the streets.  But, we did find one last week.
Taxi-1-2 Taxi-3-1

Even the newer taxis are small.  my head usually reaches the roof and there is no way I can straighten out my thighs, much less my legs.

We took a taxi downtown a couple of days ago for the 15 mile ride to the Kahn el-Khalili to do some shopping with the tourists.  It was a thirty-five minute ride going for which we paid 4 dollars and it was an hour coming back in the evening rush hour and I paid $6.  A taxi to or from the airport will cost about $10.
TaxiRide Taxi-4

Another option for getting around (and a big hazard on the streets) are the Tuk-tuks operated only on low-traffic neighborhood streets.  With these, you can get your groceries home from the store in comfort for about a quarter.  The drivers can by quite young.  Which one of these three do you think was driving?

1 comment:

Aliza said...

Well, which then? I'm voting for the one in the cream-colored jersey.