Whenever I visit a country for the first time, I am always eager to look for pointers with which I will place the country in terms of order and sanity. Driving and road behaviour is one of such for me.
It’s my second trip to North Africa in less than 18 months and this time, it is home to the cradle of civilisation, Egypt; another highly rated country in that region which I expect would provide fond memories like I had in Morocco in 2018.
The bustling nature of the Cairo traffic is so conspicuous that it cannot be unnoticed by even the least of discerning tourist, let alone someone whose first pointer for orderliness would centre on road usage.
My very first diary from Morocco last year had something from the behaviour of drivers and road users in that very beautiful city of Tangier. You can recall tha here. After just four days in two major cities of Egypt, I had seen enough of the driving and thought it was right to say a thing or two about it.
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Simply put; from Lagos, to Lome, from Yaounde to Casablanca and from Moscow to Cairo, I have never seen more carefree driving than I’ve seen in Egypt. I’m still shocked that they do not record tons of accidents on a daily basis because some of the stuff I’ve seen are classic Hollywood driving.
The drivers are very good in their art no doubt but their stunts sometimes leave innocent hearts in mouths. From the streets of Cairo to that of Alexandria, the pattern is hardly different. Young and wily drivers, fully armed with cigar smokes wriggle and waggle across the streets.
My third day in Egypt; the day after Nigeria’s win over Cameroon was pretty much quiet as I stayed indoors mostly for my own recovery session. I eventually went to the Stadium though for the last game in Alexandria; Madagascar vs Congo DR, at least to receive the “Lunch Pack” for the last time.
The surprise team of the competition so far, Madagascar won that on penalties and we were treated to some show of complete lack of decorum by Congolese journalists who vehemently protested almost every call by the centre referee on the day, accusing him of Ahmad Ahmad bias.
Day 4 (Monday) was earmarked for the trip to Cairo, usually a three-hour road trip but Monday’s was peculiar in the sense that we were going to house-hunt in one of Africa’s largest cities. Our driver was a very young chap; Kareem, in his early 20s, full of life but extremely helpful in our search for house when we got to Cairo.
We left Alexandria around 1pm local time and got to Cairo at about 5pm but getting a suitable apartment was difficult as expected. The search took almost three hours but in the end, was worth the time. We eventually secured a very good apartment that will house us for the remaining thirteen days of our stay in Egypt.
I became the unofficial leader of the delegation to the house agents because of my Google Translate App (I was the only one out of nine of us that had it, bizarre yeah?). I went on behalf of the group to sign the Agreement Form mostly written in Arabic before settling to watch the concluding part of Ghana vs Tunisia.
Just before getting into the new house, myself and a friend Busayo Olowookere had a bit of kick about with some Egyptian kids where we had to still show some leg over stuff which the kids appreciated. (Pictured)
Day 5 promises to be event-filled but I have my dilemma already. CAF are taking journalists to the Giza Pyramids at 10 whereas the Super Eagles press conference is slated for 11:30. God help me to choose wisely.