Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Journey to the Camel Market

(This entry is a little background information to the Camel Market posting I did last week.)

We had quite an adventure visiting the Camel Market.  I read in one of the guide books that the journey to get places is as interesting as the place you visit.  That was certainly true with the Camel Market.  I thought we would be all set with transportation because I'd found a taxi driver who was willing to have us rent his cab for the day, we had negotiated a price in advance, and I called the day before to confirm.  But he didn't show in the morning.  So we went to a big intersection and started asking taxis if they knew how to get to the Camel Market in Birkesh (about 45 minutes to an hour outside of Cairo).  Several drivers said, "Super market?"  Others said, "Kimo Market?"  (An upscale grocery store in Maadi).    

Finally, we found one driver who knew what I meant by camel market (... I started showing the picture of the camel on the front of the guide book).  I could tell by the price he was quoting us that he knew it was about an hour away.  He said 150 pounds; I asked if he would do 100 (arabic: meya), he agreed, and off we went.  (By the way, if something is really terrific, you can say it's "Meya! Meya!"-- meaning 100 percent!... Egyptians always smile when I say that.)  

We really liked this cab driver.  His name is Jimmy and he showed us his tattoo showing he was Christian.  He said he was named after Jimmy Carter and commented that he really liked Jimmy Carter.  (The is the second taxi driver who has volunteered that Jimmy Carter was his favorite president... they admire him for helping broker peace between Israel and Egypt at Camp David with then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1979.)

We all enjoyed the trip to the camel market.  Rural Egypt is quite beautiful in parts with fields of green crops growing and a lot of local color as we passed through small villages.

This is a landfill near the camel market.
We saw quite a few animal carcases when driving by.
 'Stores' in rural areas are always interesting.  Here are photos of the fruit stand, the refrigerator and appliance 'store', the lumber stand, and plant store.

Here are a couple picture of the three wheeled cars you see around Cairo.  In Arabic they are called Toc-Tocs.

We drove past the Giza pyramids on the way home.  They're visible from the road.  

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