22.4.07

Road Trip- Part 3 - Cairo

Cairo the capital of Egypt was our final stop before we return back to Libya , it's about 200 km from Alexandria by the desert road ( el tareeq el sa7rawi ) which was really nice and nothing like our libyan desert road , we arrived at the borders of Cairo just when it was getting dark and I can't remember how many taxis we get our car close to and asked about the way ( I didn't ask any people from the street because I was afraid that what happened in Alexandria would happen again) , I wanted to go to madenit nasr ( Nasr city) and I don't know how I got there but when I was telling our friend who live there from where we came he was choked that we took a huge turn around cairo to get here .

The first night we rested at our friends house and did nothing but sleep , we stayed six days in cairo , and only two special places I wanted to visit there, the Pyramids and the Egyptian museum ,for some reason I don't know why I was too crazy to drive in Cairo , it wasn't like anything I know , I can't tell you how crowded the roads are until you see them yourself , but they have one thing that makes every traffic jam vanish quickly , the cars never stop , they are moving all the time , buses never stop and people get in and out while it's moving , cars never stop even for people who are crossing the road , every one keeps moving and only hit the breaks lightly to slow down but never stop , if you stop like I did you find the street filled with shouting screaming yelling drivers with their car horns making it impossible to hear anything else .

one day went just for exploring downtown Cairo by car and by feet , from morning till night ,we did nothing but walk around getting lost between the millions of people there , at Altahreer square ( maydan el ta7reer) , Talat Harb street , then to el 3ataba then to Roksi and couple of other places I don't even know their names , too bad we forgot to bring the camera and thinking of going back home was impossible .


the next day was for the pyramids , more than one hour to get there even I took 6th October bridge which was made to cross the center of Cairo without getting stuck forever , I've been to Egypt before and I've seen the pyramids the excitement when I saw them was like the first time for those who haven't seen them let me tell you that they are big , bigger than you think bigger than than anyone can explain to you bigger than what you see on TV , you really have to go and see them yourself , it's just amazing how they are made , I can't say more about them because you really have to come see them by yourself , and to make the trip there even better then hire a horse and never accept the first price they give you , first we were told 120 LE each but in the end we got it only for 30 LE each and of course you will get stuck with a guide , our guide was talking non stop about how tourists pay him with euro and dollars and kept repeating it on and on and on and on and on till zikweeni told him we will pay you in euro but only if you shut up.

At the Egyptian museum I can say that two things attracted me only , the mummies and the Tutankhamun section , other than that I really got dizzy from the big amount of statues and things they got there , it's too much for a person to see in one day , I think I spent more than three hours just walking from aisle to aisle , too bad no cameras allowed inside .

Surly we didn't miss a walk at khan alkhaleeli but it wasn't as good as they show it on tv , I couldn't resist and bought little pyramids and a papyrus .

the rest of the time in Cairo we spent it either taking walks downtown or at City stars the coolest place to hang out .

one thing I got to say about Cairo is the controversy you see there ,you see sub zero people and millionaires, and it was bothering me so much seeing how the rich have no respect for the poor, humiliating the poor ones is almost normal thing over there , people aren't equal in all the world but the way I saw it in Egypt it just sucks .

there was nothing else for us to see there and it was fun but if we stay more days we were gonna get bored so on Tuesday night 20th March we left Cairo , we didn't know that fun was only about to start .


11.4.07

Road Trip- Part 2 - Alexandria

Alexandria was the first stop for us to explore , we arrived Monday night at around 9 , we were supposed to take a rest and sleep but instead we went out for a walk on the long lovely corniche , it was windy but the cold breeze felt so good after a long trip .

the next day Tuesday we woke up quite late and started the tour by visiting Qaitbay Citadel , it was amazing from the outside and the inside , and as all the castles I visited before the stairs steps are very high and the doors are huge as well which makes me wonder were these people giants or what ?
next to the citadel was a small sea world buliding so we got in there and it was the worst sea world I have ever seen , the place was a mess .

Bibliotheca Alexandrina was the only place I wanted to visit in Alexandria , I've seen and read about it before but nothing was close to what I saw when I was there , the building looked amazing with a very modern architecture something I cant explain , how the sun is lighting all the inside and how the floors were like steps , everything was visible when you get to the top floor , and in the middle there was area where old printing machines and a section where Impressions of Alexandria gallery , Shady Abdelsalam Gallery and Manuscript Museum, after checking all these places I wanted to check some books and I got very confused because of the large amount of references I could get , I spent two hours just surfing through some books with the help of a great assistant I found there .
when I went out I took a little walk around the Library where I found a sundial and checked the time and it was correct , it was 1:55 on my watch and few cm before 2 on the sundial , outside also was the head of Alexander the great and the Bibliotheca Alexandria Planetarium .

At night we decided to take a round in the streets of Alexandria with my car but we got lost , we asked for the directions to the Corniche but we found ourselves being more and more lost until we realized that some of the people we asked were giving us wrong directions and I think it was intentionally , we got into narrow streets where I was thinking this is it now they are gonna make us stop and steal the car and everything else , I derove non stop in the narrow streets and tried to use my sense of directions but we got ourselves more lost until we found ourselves going in a street full of people and their wooden carriages selling all these kind of things you see in any Egyptian movie fil 7ara , I hit one carriage with the car without intention because I was watching the hundreds of people walking in front, next to and behind the car , the guy started yelling with these Egyptian bullshit words , soka moka, 7almbo galmbo , shika bika and no word cam out from me but I was ready to run him over if he got near to me , zikweeni was looking around like crazy trying to tell me to watch out for this and for that , now another car came from the other end of the long endless full of people street , it was a taxi and he was yelling Irga3 ya 3am inta gai fil mamnoo3 , I realized that when I saw other two cars came behind him , I told him irga3 inta ya asta and there we got stuck , so was this the trap I was waiting for , no it wasn't , some guy removed some of the stuff he was selling and told me to get in the place carefully and slowly I felt I am not going out of this without any loss tonight , I asked zikweeni to hide the money we got under the dashboard and we both started laughing .
thank god we got ourselves out of this mess after the help of this guy who removed his stuff for us , after all there was a gada3 as the Egyptians say and he told us the way out exactly and we followed it , it took us more than three hours of being lost ,but the car didn't get a single scratch and our money was still with us so it wasn't a total loss after all .

Wednesday morning , no more going out with the car , so we took a cab to Al Manshiyya (downtown), there was the memoir of The Unknown Soldier at Ahmed Orabi Square and Mohamed ali statue at altahrir square , then we went to shara3 Faransa where in soem of the sides streets from there you find the best places where they make the best bdali 3arbeeya a Libyan traditional costume , I went to a ma7al owned by a guy called Yakoot who is well known in this , while he was taking my size when he was putting the tape meter around my belly he taped on my Karsha ( belly) and said di 7a tzeed wala khlas kefaya keda ( so this will grow more or what ),to be honest I didn't know what to answer him so I just shrug my shoulders .
then we went out and walked through the streets into a street market like the one we got stuck into the night before until we reached al-Morsi Abu'll Abbas Mosque .

we were supposed to check out before 12 , so we went back to teh apartment early and took our luggage and went to Carrefour city center at the beginning of The Desert road (EL tareeq al sa7rawi) , had lunch there and headed to Cairo .



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4.4.07

Flaysha


Flaysha is the other name for Al ahli football club that the fans like to call it here in Libya, and for those who doesn't know , Alahli is the number one club in Libya and even it's going down the past few years yet it's still got the biggest number of fans , they occupy more than 3/4 of the stadium and only 1/4 for Al Iti7ad the biggest opponent .

Yesterday was the big game here in Libya , Al ahli vs Al Iti7ad , I can't say that I am Al ahli fan but I know I don't like AL iti7ad at all , so I went to the game yesterday with my friends and it was a hell of experience , first the crowd outside was outstanding and unbelievable especially the police was closing all the doors in for Al ahli's fans side , the game was great because Alahli played really well but Al Iti7ad scored a goal in the second half and the excitement of the game lasted until the extra time when Al ahli had a penalty kick at the minute 94 but surprisingly Nader Kara took the ball from Omar dawood and went to score it but he lost it as we all expected it, not because Kara isn't a good player but he is not into Al ahli at all , he have been playing for months now but he still didn't get into the team and I guess after loosing that crucial penalty kick yesterday he should consider hiding for a while because now he is the number one enemy for all Al ahli fans .

The best thing in the game was the fans , so much fun so many songs they are singing and lots and lots of fireworks , I just wish the game was at night so we could have seen all the fireworks clearly .





3.4.07

Road Trip - Part 1-

As I promised I will start posting the story of my trip step by step and in this first part I will write about the first two days .

The first day, Sunday 11th March me and Zikweeni left Tripoli at 7 am , we packed everything we could which later on we realized we didn't need half of it , before we left we decided to make our trip further than the Libyan borders so stopping in Libya will be on our way back , this was the first tiem for both of us to go beyond Misrata ,and even everyone said it's one way stright and there is no way of loosing the direction I bought a map from Alforgani bookstore which is amazing because it's roads map with distance written between every point because as you know there aren't much signs on the road to know where you are or how far you are from anywhere , so we headed east and stopped at Misrata (200km) at 9 we had breakfast there at a local cafe and then hit the road non stop until Sirt where we stopped for lunch then all the way till Benghazi ,we didn't want to finish from Agdabiya till Tubroug directly but we went north to Benghazi and spent the night there at a hotel called Africa hotel in Algeria street , this was my first time to visit Benghazi and I found it really nice although it seems so old and all the building are so old , even that Tebisti hotel that we see on tv all the time , there we found that they have three big streets , shari3 3ishreen , shara3 Dubai , and shara3 Gamal , at least these are the main thee street I knew by asking people over there ,and while driving there I got lost so many times and asking people over there didn't help ,I know I am talking like I wasn't in Libya but seriously the accent was quite difficult and different than those shraga(eastern) in tripoli because they talk really really fast I don't know why , we had dinner at a place called Aldimashki , it's a very nice place at Dubai street with all these Lebanese food or may be it's Syrian because of the name , next morning at 7 as well I took directions from the hotel reception and we got our selves a shorter way than the one we planned to take which involved passing by Albyada and Derna so instead we took the road to Almarij then took the desert road ( elsa7rawi) , I even learned a new word from the guy was telling me the directions, it's 3goba meaning the road around the mountain , first I thought they meant ma6ab or something like that .
Almarj was amazing and I felt like I wasn't in Libya because of the green fields and trees I saw , we passed by Taknis which was amazing and the people over there were so kind , we stopped to ask for the road and the old men sitting there made us stop and drink the morning tea with them , it was so nice with the fresh air filling my lung , then we reached el sa7rawi , I thought we were lost because we were the only car there , we even stopped and took pictures in the middle of the road and I even slept and no car passed , I think it took more than 20 minutes until a car showed up, the road was about 250 km and at the end of it we reached el Tameemi then headed east towards Tobrug , we didn't stop until we reached Imsa3id at around 12 , we did the papers for the car at the customs and then headed to the borders , at the Libyan side everything was smooth and only two cars were there so we got our passport stamped fast then we reached the Egyptian side where the troubles started , no offense to all the Egyptians but almost all the guys working at the border are working with rashwa (money tips) only , you tip them they do what they are supposed to do but if you don't then you have to wait for a very long time , I agreed with Zikweeni that we are not paying any garsh for them ,so we had to be the last ones in everything , but before that the first thing we faced is the fire extinguisher, we didn't have one and we had to buy a new one from them , so this is tip number one ( if you are going to Egypt with your car bring a fire extinguisher with you ) ,then at the customs they searched every inch of the car and even checked the spare tire if it was filled with air or something else , I am glad I didn't hide anything there , I know if I gave them 10 or 20 Egyptian pounds they wont search anything , now the paper work for the car took more than two hours first because somehow the engine's number wasn't written in the car's registrations and second because I didn't tip the guy checking the Engine and Car's number and everyone else was tipping him so he left us last , so me and zikweeni took two chips packs and bought cold drinks and said to the guy m3ak la leel ma wrana shai , it was a hot sunny day but yet we decided to wait until 4 o'clock we got out of the Egyptian borders and went down to Alsaloom through the amazing road on the sea, filled with our stink and sweats I felt like my kanatera is glued to my skin now , but we didn't have any other choice than driving all the way until Alexandria ,the distance is about 500km and we reached Alexandria around 9 rented an apartment took a nice long shower then instead of going to sleep we found ourselves going out again .


Km passed at the first day ( Tripoli to Benghazi) 990Km



Km passed at the second day ( Benghazi to Alexandria) 1060 km



Total 2050 Km


Tebesti Hotel in Benghazi

at Almarj

Almarj

Taknis

Elsa7rawi
( only 20 km away from the last picture )
Very Big difference