Journey to Egypt: Part 1 – In Transit and Arrival in Cairo, Cairo Traffic

December 23, 2018

Dale and I took a flight from Chicago O’Hare Airport late on Dec. 22, arriving in the morning in Frankfurt, Germany, where we had several hours and time for lunch at Goethe restaurant in the airport.


Our journey started at O’Hare Airport in Chicago on the night of Dec. 22.

In the afternoon, we walked through the maze of the Frankfurt airport – down hallways, past duty-free shops, down escalators, more hallways, up escalators and finally a shuttle to the terminal where we would catch our flight to Cairo! Seriously, I walked an entire mile just in the Frankfurt airport!



Whew! We finally reached our gate! Our flight was already getting ready to board when we arrived.

There was a full moon! This is a view I took from the airplane shortly before our arrival in Cairo.
20181223_175604d.jpgWe were met at the Cairo airport by an OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) representative, who accompanied us to our hotel on El Gezirah Island in Cairo – the historic Marriott Hotel. This hotel will be the subject of a future post.

On our way to the hotel, we were told about the chaos of Cairo traffic.  Drivers in Cairo, especially, seem always in a hurry to get somewhere in this city of 20 million people. So a four lane road may contain eight lanes of traffic!


Crossing the Nile from El Gezirah Island to the mainland: On this road, designed for two lanes of traffic going each way, there are actually four lines of cars going one way and at least two going the other way alongside our bus!

Egyptians say that the lines delineating each lane on the road are “only for decoration.” Furthermore, speed limits are merely “suggestions.” Drivers are constantly honking at the perceived slowness of the cars ahead of them, although it rarely does much good: it’s bumper to bumper and no one is going anywhere fast. Except maybe the motorcycles, which zip past lanes of cars and weave their way through traffic.

murals in Cairo from cab1

Murals from taxi on the way to our hotel – notice the dent and scratches in the red car closest to the photographer: nearly every car, it seemed, had suffered dents and scratches in Cairo! (Photo taken by group member Lola Pazos).

The most alarming habit of Egyptian drivers is an unwillingness of many to turn on their headlights at night, because they think having their lights on “offends the drivers coming the other way.” Apparently they are not aware of the purpose of brights!!

At the hotel, we were greeted by our guide, Mohamed, who would accompany our group for the entire tour. All of the other group members had arrived earlier and by the time we arrived had retired to their rooms for the night.

Next: The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx












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