Life From the Back of An Egyptian Taxi

You know that saying?

My life just flashed before my eyes?

It must have originated somewhere in Cairo from the backseat of a taxi.

Each time you enter the unknown charted territory, otherwise known as a Cairo taxi, a travel advisory should be issued.

Enter at your own risk. Be forewarned.

First of all, you have to negotiate. Meter, meter and meter.

However, taxi driver wants money, money and money… preferably of the easy kind from the easy foreigner who does not understand how much to pay.

When the meter has been negotiated, you now wait in solemn silence to watch as the meter begins to tick upwards praying to the taxi gods that it ticks at the appropriate rate.

Not the rigged one that unsuspecting novices might not notice.

If it is rigged, you can protest, you can demand to get out, you can renegotiate money instead of meter or you can do as we did yesterday, cut the ride short and “not so politely but still polite enough to be Canadian” fork money over and stomp away!

In any case, a taxi ride in Cairo is never boring.

Zooming down the highway, way beyond the means of a broken down beat up taxi, we whip in and out of lanes barely missing the rear view mirrors of fellow cars. Jade and I exchange looks of panic and grasp for something, anything to hold onto as taxi driver dreams of winning the race, a race we didn’t know we had entered!

Yes, there are lines on the road. Yellow, like in other countries. Someone went to the trouble of painting them on the road. But why?

Maybe Cairo wanted to be like other cities. It wanted to fit in. It wanted lines, rules and drivers who follow rules.

But this is not what Cairo is.

Cairo is Cairo. The lines look nice. But mean nothing. Not one single thing.

I think they are meant as practice. To learn how to straddle them. To learn how to cross them going any and all speeds, as many times as you can. The crazier, the better.

So lines are out. And the horn is in.

To drive in Cairo is to honk. Simple as that.

So if you want to ride in taxis, hold on, pray a little and put the ear plugs in.

Armed with our Arabic taxi, small bills and a fierce determination to fit in, Jade and I have passed the beginner’s level in taxi and have now moved onto a more advanced one. Little did we know that this level meant driving right into oncoming cars!

 

40 comments

  1. Leen · September 16

    This post made me laugh so much! Very similar here! I live in Lebanon

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wild Wild Basch · May 26, 2016

    I would say, call an Uber! But there’s probably no ubers out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cindy · March 21, 2016

    Hey..been thinking about you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · April 1, 2016

      Yes, Cindy…. I did disappear. School got very busy and that, mixed with a lack of wifi, made blogging a challenge… but I hope to return soon. Thanks for thinking of me. I hope you are doing fine. I will try to do better and get my writing going again. Cheryl 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cindy · April 1, 2016

        OH MY GOSH!!! It is SO good to hear from you!! You know me, I was thinking the worst..I mean it’s one thing to go to Bermuda and stop blogging..but when it’s Egypt..yikes, the imagination starts to run wild…at least mine does. 😫 I’m just glad you are well…will look for your posts and pictures in the future- I’m sure you have plenty of stories to tell! 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · April 1, 2016

        I know Cindy. With the recent hijacking etc. of another plane, I did hear from some who were worried and didn’t know. Seriously living in Egypt feels much safer than living in Toronto at times! Safer… but never boring certainly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cindy · April 1, 2016

        My youngest told me she wanted to spend a semester studying in Europe next year and I was immediately gripped with fear..can you imagine? Who would have thought I’d ever feel that level of concern- about EUROPE!!!! Crazy times.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · April 1, 2016

        Absolutely true. I talked to my parents of my students here in Egypt about their concerns of leaving Egypt to travel to Europe for Xmas! My daughter leaves for Europe next week and I am more nervous about that than any trip we have taken this year!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cindy · April 1, 2016

        Geez. Honestly, the world is off its axis..I won’t even get into the election we’re about to have..holy cow.. scary stuff. All I can do is live my own life and try to have a positive impact on those around me..because frankly, I don’t have any idea how to fix the really “big stuff.” 😧

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · April 1, 2016

        So true. Do our best personally and hope the rest of the sad stuff stops soon!

        Like

  4. Becky · March 11, 2016

    Hahaha, glad you survived it! I think the scariest taxi ride I’ve ever had was to the airport in Curacao. My partner, who has a fear of flying, couldn’t wait to get out of the taxi and into the plane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · April 1, 2016

      Yes, that must have been a pretty bad drive when the plane looks like a respite of peace!

      Like

  5. justbluedutch · March 6, 2016

    Sounds familiar..most Egyptian Taxi drivers here in Kw are also the same..:(

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy · January 17, 2016

    Hope all is well there! Just thinking of you, so I stopped by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · April 1, 2016

      Thanks Sarah. Life got really busy with work and the lack of wifi made me put the blog away for awhile. I need to dust it off and return to writing. Especially when each day provides something to write about here in Egypt. I hope you are doing well too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah Ferguson and Choppy · April 2, 2016

        So glad to hear all is well there – I am very curious about your life there, and when you get time, I am looking forward to reading all about it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · April 4, 2016

        I shall do Sarah! In some ways it all feels so ordinary now and in other ways, I think … oh wow… I live in Egypt.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah Ferguson and Choppy · April 5, 2016

        Amazing how that happens – the little things that are so amazing when you move somewhere so unfamiliar become so commonplace you don’t even see them any more. And then someone comes to visit or you post something on the Internet and realize how incredible the place you are really is!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · April 7, 2016

        That is so true Sarah. Every now and then I am on skype and someone hears the call to prayer over the phone and I remember that is less common elsewhere. It is part of my daily existence now. 🙂

        Like

  7. Lucy & Marty · January 8, 2016

    I hope you and your daughter are doing okay! I was just thinking dang I have not seen her blog in a long time and I thought I was missing out on your updates. I also hope you had a nice holiday and happy 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · April 1, 2016

      Thank you so much. Between work and a lack of wifi, I temporarily left my life as a blogger but hope to return soon! We are doing great in Egypt and I need to get off my butt and write about it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Diya of Pen2Needle · December 31, 2015

    Lolll… chuckled all the way through this post. Especially because I was imagining my own hair raising experiences in Indian autorickshaws (small, open 3 wheeler thingies that are a guaranteed death trap). Kudos on crossing level one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. janegundogan · December 28, 2015

    I got taken by a taksi driver in Mersin recently. Doesn’t matter how long you have been living there when they see a foreigner (yabanci here in Türkiye) the meter seems to either disappear or double lol!

    Well done you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. SD Gates · December 7, 2015

    I can’t imagine riding in a taxi in Cairo. Couldn’t you get something slower – like a camel, or maybe an armored tank, or at least wear full body armor and a crash helmet. Hope you are otherwise okay!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. aj vosse · December 1, 2015

    Sounds to me like the back of a camel is a much better bet!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A Journey With You · November 26, 2015

    I remember taxi rides in Cairo very well! It is an unforgettable experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The taxi driver may have taken your money, but he didn’t get your humour! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Manja Mexi Movie · November 22, 2015

    Hihi! Laughing WITH you, of course. As it is, amore also laughs if I mention lane lines in Roma. It’s working though, there is just at least one lane more than it is drawn. I just try to stick to the car in front, and ape it. As for you: the next stage is DRIVING there yourself 😉 (I don’t know if you drive at all, but I bet you are tempted, hihi.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · November 23, 2015

      No I have to admit I am a terrible driver who is not confident even in Canada! I will leave the driving to the reckless taxi drivers!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Nancy · November 22, 2015

    Yikes! Sounds like a ride at Disney only much more dangerous! Maybe a nice quiet mule next time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · November 23, 2015

      Yes the donkey cart idea is a good one. Believe it or not they can be found everywhere as well. They probably don’t follow the lines either but at least they move more slowly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nancy · November 23, 2015

        We had a taxi driver in the Virgin Islands who kept turning around talking to us instead of watching the narrow winding road ahead. Last time we took a taxi on that trip! Don’t remember if they offered mule and cart rides there?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · November 23, 2015

        Yes that would be a tad unnerving!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld · November 22, 2015

    I can just imagine the type of taxi drive you are describing – those that can only be rode with tightly gritted teeth!! Eeeeek. And haha, we all know about those taxi gods, where would we be without them?!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · November 23, 2015

      And clenched fists as well! Yes the taxi gods have been good to us so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. any1mark66 · November 22, 2015

    I had a New Orleans cab ride that was well left of center and the only light he stopped for involved stopping in intersection (we had green light) to yell at another driver who dared to turn in front of him. But no other cars were threatened so this is probably training wheel phase for Cario. Good to see your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. joanfrankham · November 22, 2015

    Too funny..and familiar, I am in Zimbabwe right now and it’s similar. It must be an African thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · November 23, 2015

      Oh I am jealous. Would love to be there. Yes driving can be the most dangerous thing you do overseas!

      Liked by 1 person

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