2009 Egypt – Day 2 – Alexandria

At some point we decided to make a detour to Alexandria. The only option is the train, which is why we started early on our way to the station. Coming from Gizah we took the bus which brought us directly to the station. In the station there was a ticket counter and somehow we could make ourselves understandable and got two tickets for the next train to Alexandria. The train waited already at the track so that we could get on after a cigarette break immediately. Sometime the train departed and went forever through Cairo and the suburbs of Cairo along the Nile delta to the north to the coast.

Altogether the train was quite comfortable, but not with so clean windows, which didn’t matter. Except that the photos from the train became a little cloudy. Strangely enough there were quite a lot of brickworks to see on the way. You could recognize them by the high chimneys. However, they were nevertheless quite small. On the way one village came after the other. Sometimes something burned next to the railroad tracks. You were not allowed to smoke in the car itself. However one could smoke between the cars, which was used by many. At some stations salesmen got on, went through the train and got off at the next station again.

This made the dining car superfluous. The arrival in Alexandria made itself noticeable by increasing building development. The houses became more and also substantially higher. All in all it did not look very inviting. The houses existed also on the way in the typical Arabic style with reinforced concrete columns at all corners, floor and cover probably also from reinforced concrete and the sides from bricks. Each house had at least the steel concrete columns for the next floor on top, but at least the reinforcement steel still left. On the land they consisted partly only of one floor, with something being stored or a stable on top. In the direction of the cities these buildings became in addition, up to 20 floors high, whereby I asked myself whether statically this really so simply goes. But apparently it works like that.

Arrived in the station in Alexandria we went still to a tourist information. They told us something about a district where we should not go. “Very Crowded”. I don’t know what that was supposed to mean, but we didn’t want to go. Apart from us there were only two Japanese in the train station who seemed to be foreigners. Out of the station we went in the direction of more through streets with old buildings, which could also stand elsewhere at the Mediterranean Sea. However, the condition was somewhat doubtful. But the city made a very interesting impression. Everywhere were shops, people and cars. There was also a tram. Somewhere I took a photo of a picture of Mubarrak with an aircraft carrier and F14 fighter planes.

Arrived at the beach one could see first how big or how long the city is actually. I looked at it later on a map and that’s about 50 – 100 km. Anyway, the beach was completely closed on both sides up to the horizon. At the beach we first ate something that didn’t taste so good but at least filled us up. We walked past the library of Alexandra and on the beach towards the tower of Alexandria. Again and again there were splendid old buildings and quite respectable small parks. Arrived at the tower it became also already slowly dark. At the tower itself there should be something like a museum, which turned out somehow as small bays, which we did not consider meaningful to regard. On the square in front of the tower there were some people and a small stall with food and sweets.

We chilled something on the square until it was time to go back to the station. Meanwhile it had become clear to us that it could become scarce with the train, since the way to the station was nevertheless quite far. In between we discovered a Liquor-Store where we stocked up with plenty of beer for a Euro. So we decided to take a taxi. Somehow we couldn’t communicate or the guy didn’t want to understand us. But somehow that was possible. However, he drove a quite strange way. At some point we arrived in a rundown area where fire was burning on the street. That didn’t make such a good impression at all. At that time I found it a bit frightening but meanwhile it wouldn’t bother me anymore. Finally more foreigners are killed or attacked in Germany than Germans in other countries.

On the contrary, Arabs are extremely helpful and friendly, even if you light a little fire on the street to grill something. In any case we decided to get out there anyway, since the taxi driver was the purest disaster. It didn’t look like a train station either, so we got into the next best taxi that came by. It seemed to work better with the taxi driver, but it just seemed that way at first. By the way, here I made my first experience with card reading Arabs. I held out the map on which the destination in Arabic was written. In retrospect, I don’t think he could read. Maps don’t read either, as I had often noticed from others, without them saying anything.

The taxi driver drove again strangely through the area and it became always later sometime I noticed that we were again at the same place on the beach where we drove off with the other one. We decided to get out here again, because it couldn’t work out like that and ran straight to the train. I don’t think we arrived on time but we still got the train. Generally it was right and the train was not air-conditioned. I grabbed a malt drink and went to the smoking area.

An old dog indicated that I shouldn’t do the thing with the can here, so I held the can in front of his face and he waved. Does he think I’m drinking beer there or what? The malt beer can be found at every corner and is not so difficult to distinguish. The ride was a bit tiring and you couldn’t see much out of the window. Arrived in Cairo we took the bus to Gizah again. I don’t know how we always managed that. I think we always asked one of the many military people who were everywhere, because they spoke English quite well and were very friendly. But when we arrived at the hotel we really had some real beer to drink.