I just bought my visa sticker at one of the five or six tiny offices in the arrival hall, then I grabbed my backpack from the luggage belt, and right now i’m walking towards the many taxi drivers waiting for travellers at Terminal 1. The smell reminds me of Thailand. Probably because of the sticky warmth. It’s 3 in the morning and the temperature must be over 25 degrees Celcius. So this is it, I think. Welcome to Cairo.
Mohammed is his name. The taxi driver who was waiting for me. He had my name printed on a piece of paper. I smiled and said something he didn’t understand, and he did the same. Then we walked over to his car. It must be some Asian hatchback. Even for car lovers it must be hard to define what kind of car this is. Why? Mohammed likes chrome and colored LED lights. He loves them. Thats why he decided his taxi could use a whole lot of shiny silver looking bits of plastic and strips of flashing LEDs. They’re attached on the outside as well as on the inside of his car. Everywhere. I said it looks very good, and I meant it. I don’t like cars that much, but I like my driver enjoying his cab.
A western radio station plays Careless Whisper as we zoom over the ring road to Maadi, the neighborhood where I’ll work for three months and sleep for at least a couple of nights. Our windows are down, desert sand blows over the road and Mohammed is playing with his Police sounds. He has installed all these sounds you know from hollywood pursuits in his car. We pass slower cars left and right while he’s busy pressing the buttons hidden behind the stick. A normal siren, some faster ones, some sort of buzzer, and so on. I ask him if this stuff isn’t illegal to which he replies that it’s very good. Very good, I repeat after him. We laugh.
Cairo is very good.