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Egypt

At last Ramadan is over! Late night shopping became ever busier, the souks more crowded, the climax a three day party, Eid. Thousands of young boys filled the street, riding wild horses and beating donkeys mercilessly. Dust and rubbish clouds rose while I searched desperatly for a (Christian run) beer shop, fending off endless demands for baksheesh. And now the restaurants are open, hooray. Not that Egyptian food is good. Tasteless bean mash, dry felafel, and the usual rice and chicken. But its cheap!

I arrived in Alexandria, to wander the corniche and see the Mediterranean. Egypt has wonderful atmospheric (and filthy) hotels- cast iron stair rails, dilapidated lifts, balconies overlooking crowded streets. Soon I was in Cairo, shoulder to shoulder in the bazaar, dodging trousers waved about by street salesmen. Tea shops and shisha (tobacco bongs), an excellent Metro system, and thousands of tour buses filled with stupid tourists make it a crazy place.

The Pyramids tower over the grey, smog filled Giza concrete jungle. Policemen, Camel pushers and postcard salesmen chase tourists, right into the depths of the Pyramid itself (I complained to the tourist police- the said oh, hes only in there 10 minutes and then we send the next man in). The museum displays wonderful treasures, I never knew so many mummies existed.

A seat in a night train left me crippled for two days in Aswan, far south along the Nile. Green fields, mango orchards and dates stretch a whole 200 metres either side of this river, before desert begins. From the corniche the river is mostly hidden by four story cruise boats. Tourism is big business here.

Which has made a new problem for me. On my trip I have never had to deal with such lying, cheating, swindling bastards as Egyptians (and now Im in Jordan, Jordanians too)! And girls, you will never meet a more disgusting lecherous man than an Egyptian man. It’s a real shame, and us stupid tourists are to blame. As I found in Luxor, visiting Valley of the Kings and other impressive temples, Egypts tourist capital.

Islam appears more hypocritical than ever. Be a good muslim, but swindle the tourist. Respect a woman with covered hair, but gawk and leer at a western woman. Many men sport a purple scar on their forehead- a “prayer bruise” from praying five times a day. Yep, to me thats what religion is all about- you might as well bang your head on the floor. Every bad act, from smoking during Ramadan to the bombs in Amman, (Jordans capital city, where I am now), which managed to massace two Jordanian wedding parties, is done by “bad muslims, not real muslims”. Ill remember to say that next time I get cheated.

I staggered of yet another overnight bus in Suez, and sat by the Suez canal in the early morning. Huge tankers and container ships cruise past, and as the last morning of Eid grew older, the park filled up. Not a tourist in sight, and people buy me tea, icecream and later my lunch. What a difference! Next day I watched the dawn from Mount Sinai, where God appeared in the form of a burning bush and told Moses to be a Christian, and later gave him the 10 commandments there. My bad jokes didnt worry the groups of Christians singing hymns on the summit.

Finally a spot of snorkelling in the Red Sea, and then a long day spent on the ferry to Jordan. Im heading to Syria, Turkey and Iran, and people have warned me the cheating just gets worse. I just want to get back to Asia. I havnt seen any green trees or grass for a month, desert seems to stretch on forever.

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