We've spent the last two days in Cairo, whose manic sultry streets I had envisaged, traffic hurtles pass relentlessly and crossing roads can be quite vexing.
On more than one occasion the curb side proved the site for encounters with the locals, happy to volunteer advice on the simple predicament of road crossing. Some were more practical than others, one man explaining how you had to turn your back to incoming traffic and walk boldly, only then would drives screech to stop, others were less so: "close your eyes and pray for Allah". I have as of yet perfected neither of these techniques. More curiously we have found newly acquainted strangers vying for our short time in their city, whether through genuine curiosity or hidden agendas that only seem to become clear later on, maybe after a tea or a short walk on their way which conveniently corresponds with ours do we find ourselves being led on to a shop. So it was with a certain Dr Sherief who in hindsight may not have been a doctor, or other "artists" a word apparently synonymous with "tourist shop keeper" So we are growing a bit wary, more so of the signs of conflict: of the eerily quiet Tahir Square, which has been the stage for so much protest. Now at every corner in the "Downtown" district where we're based it seems one finds parked a tank or armoured car, all full to the brim with soldiers glowering, weapons at the ready.
Tomorrow we set out on our journey, which should take us to Luxor, Aswan and eventually Abu Simbel 50km north of the Sudanese boarder.