Category Archives: فى بر مصر

دليلك للاقامة في فنادق الاربع وخمس نجوم بمصر المحروسة

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1       جنسيتان حاول قصاري جهدك متتقابلش معاهم في المطعم ابدا: المصريين والروس. الاولانيين بيدخلوا المطعم مع بدأ إشارة الانطلاق ويصروا علي اكمال الماراثون حتي النهاية او حتي الترجيع من كتر الاكل. التانيين عندهم استعداد يدخلوا ماتش ملاكمة مع اي حد واقف قدام اي نوع من الاكل طالما هم عايزين من الاكل ده. توقع ان حد منهم يزيحك بايده عادي جدا او يلكزك كوع ومش هيرمش له جفن.

2لو عندك صداع … حاول متحتكش بايطاليين .. هم شعب ودود جدا .. ربما ودود زيادة عن اللزوم … ورغااااااااي رغي كريم الحميدي علي راديو مصر بالظبط. لو وقعت في ايد حد منهم مش هيسيب ودانك … والمشكلة هنا انك نادرا ما هتقع مع واحد بس .. لا .. هتقع في قرطة منهم … لان افراطهم في الاجتماعية يحتم عليهم المشي في مجموعات مثل البطاريق تمام.


3لو لقيت واحدة شقرا او واحد ابيضاني جاي في وشك واتقابلتوا في طرقة ولا ممر في اي حتة في الفندق .. ولقيته بيبصلك بارتياب شديد وبعدين يحاول يبص في حتة تانية بعدين يرجع يبص لك في ارتياب … وتستمر العملية دي لحد ما يعديك .. ومن ثم تسمع زفرة صادرة عنه تخليك تسأل نفسك: هو انا بخوّف للدرجة دي؟ .. تأكد تماما ان الشقرا دي مجرد واحدة مصرية بس لا مؤاخذة صابغة … والابيضاني ده مجرد مصري عنده اختلاط في الجينات بسبب اختلاط نسبه بانساب الفرنسيين ابان الحملة الفرنسية علي مصر مش اكتر. عرفنا الكلام ده بقي منين؟ مفيش اجنبي ايا كانت جنسيته لو جت عينك في عينه مش هيبتسملك او يهز راسه بتحية خفيفة .. دا ان ما قالش هالو او تحية صباح او مساء. المصري هو المخلوق الوحيد علي الكوكب اللي مولود في فيلم the walking dead ومقتنع تماما ان كل اللي حواليه zombies ممكن يهجموا عليه ويعضوه في اي لحظة. بالتالي يمكننا تفسير مدي توتره لما بيقابل حد من نفس جنسه .. فبيضطر يمثل ان هوه نفسه زومبي .. يضرب وش خشب ويحاول يبعد عينه عن عينيك .. ويمشي مشية جد كانه من جنود النازي.

4لو الفندق اللي انت نازل فيه فيه اكتر من عيلة واحدة مصرية بعيلين علي اقصي تقدير .. لم شنطك واعمل تشيك اوت فورا. المصريبن مش بيربوا .. المصريين حدود علاقتهم بعيالهم تنتهي عند تلبية الاحتياجة الفيزيائية فقط لا غير .. احنا نأكّل ماشي .. نغيّر بامبرز قشطة … نضرب الواد قلمين علي وشه عشان تف البيضة اللي دفسنهاله في بقه غصم واقتدار يجوز .. لكن نربي لأ .. هو لو المصريين ربوا يبقي سبنا ايه للزمن يعمله؟ … المصري الاصيل شعاره: اطلق العيال وريح دماغك واستمتع باجازتك … سيبهم يلعبوا في زراير الاسانسير لحد ما يخربوه … ويجروا في كل مكان يوقعوا شنط الناس .. ويدوسوا علي رجل الناس … ويلحوسوا كل حتة باكلهم وشربهم ومخاطهم وكل سوائل جسمهم المختلفة. كل ده وانت عامل نفسك مش واخد بالك.

    5تعرف منين الفندق اللي ادارته اجنبية من اللي ادارته مصرية؟ راقب تصرفات الموظفين والعمال. لو لقيت مثلا العامل واقف في آخر الطرقة وفاتح جعورته علي 1500 وات وبينادي علي زميله: “يا حسيييين … شوف عندك غرفة 510 كات عايزة ورق مناديييييه” … ايوة ان ذنب ودن امي ايه انكم سكنتوني جنب غرفة 510 اللي عايزة مناديه دي؟ دي طبعا ادارة مصري صرف … الادارة الاجنبي اللي بتتمتع بالظبط والربط لو المدير سمع فيها الحوار الشيق ده هيرفدهم رسمي. الصوت العالي همجية وغوغائية مينفعش تحصل في فندق محترم. موقف تاني: لاحظ تصرفات الندلاء في المطعم .. لو بيتجمعوا علي جنب ويقفوا يهزروا ومحدش فيهم معبر الناس اللي قاعدة .. دي ادارة مصري … حيث الموظف الفهلوي يحاول تقديم اقل قدر من المجهود وقضاء وقت لطيف مع زملائه (ويا حبذا لو كنّ زميلاته) مش اكتر.

 6يا ويلك يا سواد ليلك لو تصادف وجودك في فندق يستضيف فوج من شركة او نادي او مؤسسة مصرية .. العبي يا العاب بقي .. الفرج ده بيكون الغالبية العظمي منه تصرفاتها تصرفات شبعة من بعد جوعة .. ومتفهمش بقي ان كان ده نابع من كونهم فعلا معتبوش فنادق نضيفة قبل سابق … ولا من كونهم ببنتقموا من المؤسسه او الجهة اللي بعتاهم ودافعة فلوس اقامتهم من منطلق: اهو اللي ييجي من عينيهم! .. انا مش هتكلم عن “الكيسة السمرا” والاطباق التي تتخذ شكل برج بيزا المائل من فرط ما عليها من طعام والمهازل الحضارية اللي بتحصل في كل مرة بيدخلوا فيها المطعم … ولا الصدمة العصبية اللي بتبان علي وشوشهم لما بييجوا يعملوا تشيك اوت ويكتشفوا ان كيسين السوداني والشوكلاتية المارس وعلبتين البيبسي اللي ضربوهم اول ما دخلوا الاوضة تمنهم حوالي 150 جنيه .. ولا محاولات نزول البيسين فلح-ستايل: الرجالة بالفانلة الحمالات عشان التسلخات وكدزه .. والولية بالمايوه الشرعي اللي بيخليها عاملة زي الغواصة البرمائية وهي بتبلبط في الحتة بتاعة الاطفال وبتتقلّب يمين وشمال علي ارض الحمام زي السمكة البلطي المصابة بالقولون العصبي. ولا هتكلم عن الرجالة السناجل (وساعات المتجوزين وحياتك) ومحاولاتهم البائسة المثيرة للشفقة للفت انتباه اي حاجة اجنبية معدية حتي لو كانت من مخلفات الحرب العالمية الاولي مش التانية. ولا هتكلم عن الشو الروسي وحالات الريالة اللا ارادية اللي بتحصل للرجالة .. ووشوش الزوجات اللي بتتقلب قلبة الشراب المقلوب وهم قاعدين بيتفرجوا ع المزز الروسي وكل شوية يبصوا لجوازتهم بطرف عينهم ولسان حالهم بيقول: “شوف ياختشي الراجل مبحلق ازاي في شوية الابراص المخلية اللي بتتلوي زي التعابين دي. اللي ما في حتة لحم توحد ربنا غيرش عضم ف كل حتة. جتهم القرف في الرجالة واذواقهم العرة”. تقولها وهي تعدل من لفة الازبانيش اللي قامطة بيها شعرها وتتسائل في سرها عما سيقدمه الفندق في عشاء الغد وتمني نفسها بطبق كبير من اللحم المشوي والديك الرومي.

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Jo Rust: Solo around Africa, Now in Egypt!

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Around two weeks ago I was invited to a group ride to the Pyramids & the citadel in Cairo. The reason for receiving the invitation is that I’m proudly one of the very few female riders in Egypt, let alone one who rides as a means of communing on daily basis in the wild jungle of Cairo traffic. The ride was sponsored by Biker Zone and it comes as a Welcome and reception of Jolandie Rust, the first female to attempt circumnavigating Africa on her bike, SOLO!

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Like I said, I’m a rider. BUT, and that’s a big BUT here … “to ride” is a verb which qualifies for anything that moves, and around Egyptian riding communities, we tend to get more flexible with terms, so: anything that moves “on two-wheels” …  so, no, I don’t ride a bike … hold your horses and let’s narrow it down to a SCOOTER!

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Now l let your imagination ponder a while on that hilarious scene: Me, in all my sturdy giant body, on a blood red Fiddle II, driving through the gateway of the Heliopolis hotel where the start-point is set for the ride, and with a nervous glance on the bunch of fully-safety-gear-equipped machos standing in a row, who were looking down on that clumsy  scooter driver as she halts midway looking for a place to park, when some security guy points out an empty slot in the array of bikes parked on the left. I turn my head and there they are,  with their sparkling chrome parts blinding me for a split second: Shadows, VTXs, Harleys, Boulevards .. every single brand in the cruisers list, lying there like monsters ready to leap forward and eat my dwarf Fiddle at any moment. But my brave Fiddle raises its head high in Pride, and drives confidently through, and settles finally between two Shadows, with its front tire hardly visible between the two giant tires on its sides.

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The ride was simple, on an easy speed of 80km/hr, but the sun was grilling our skins alive. We made it to the Pyramids in less than an hour, then to the Citadel in about half that. Nearly all bike & scooters clubs in town where present in this ride (Yes, we have quite a handful of those): Cairo Scooters Club, Egypt Riders, Ducati Egypt MTI, TiTans, Egypt Female Bikers , BMW Motorrad Egypt and Shadow Riders Club. All on board for promoting tourism in Egypt as a safe country for tourists, riders and adventurers alike.

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The day ended with a press conference for  Jolandie Rust. Jo is a South African adventurer. In April 2011, she set out on a long journey, that started in her hometown in South Africa, covered all the western coast lining countries of the continent and almost all the coast of the Mediterranean before ending up here in Cairo to start her final lag of the journey back to South Africa through the eastern border countries.  She’s crossed 19 countries on her route and Egypt is #20 in her list. Afterwards, she posted a nice piece about Egypt and her brief experience both with the culture and the people. She wrote in reassurance to all people out there who feel worried about the situation given media coverage that is usually focused on a single perspective of the events and mostly fails to convey the day-by-day life inside the city: “I haven’t felt threatened or in danger in any way since entering Egypt and have only been met with a great deal of kindness and support everywhere I go. I really do hope that things will return to ‘normal’ again soon for the people of this wonderful country.

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I was glad we met up later in some other event and we had the chance to chat for at least half an hour about her trip, her future plans and her next steps around Egypt. For a girl who has the courage, will and determination to hop on a bike and ride solo across deserted wilderness, and urban cities  in which she knew no one, and even through politically troubled areas (Libya was a good challenge, as well as arriving in a Cairo under curfew), you’d think that she would be wildly out-spoken, too self-engaged to notice anyone around or to say the least: be cocky. Instead, I found her to be a very modest, down to earth person, keen on sharing a lot about herself and her dreams without conservation and willing to answer questions that she must have been asked a dizzilion times in a dizilion number of places with the same enthusiasm and simplicity as if they’re being asked for the first time.

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A journey like that comes with no guarantee of safety, no shortage in surprises and no tolerance in dangerous situations. Jo has been robbed off all her gear once, kidnapped in another, spent hours of waiting at border crossings,  denied entrance visa to one country on the route, and probably had more motorbike problems (minor or major) than she can remember,  but the thing that gets someone to carry on day by day on such a tiresome & troublesome long journey is what Jo describes in her own words: “I have a dream, and I will not stop till I reach the end point”.

The hidden pearl of the Western desert

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The over-night trip was pretty exhausting, 500+ Km along the road from Cairo to Matrouh and then around 300 Km to the south into the western desert. After 9 hours of straight travel, the only thing you need to see is a warm meal, a hot bath and a clean bed. But what I saw as I entered Siwa completely shattered my hopes. Image

As I stood in the center of this very small town, starring at the crumbling ruins of the 12th century fortress that locals call Shali and which constitutes the old town of Siwa where inhabitants resided safely within its walls, and listening to nearby shop-keepers in the typical nomadic garments as they communicate in a local dialect of a centuries old Berber language unspoken in any other area in Egypt, I was simply perplexed! In the exterior, it was just a humble village where houses are still built from clay, and where the local means of transportation are limited to donkey-driven carriages and carts. It seemed to be the literal opposition to modernity. “Just another village, not far from my home-village in the delta”, I thought.

I found my condolence in the soon-to-start desert safari that we were scheduled to join as soon as we arrived in town. And so I separate myself from even those small traces of modern life that manifests itself in houses, shops and imported goods that fill up the town center, and immerse myself in an eternal view of the golden sands. Just miles and miles of endless dunes that leaves you totally disoriented and bewildered, needless to say SCARED, as the 4 WD vehicles race up and down the steep slopes.

Right before sunset, we stop over a high sand dune and indulge into a tiring contest of sand boarding; a Sisyphean task where we’d sit or stand on a wooden board, slide down the dune and then breathlessly struggle our way up the absorptive fine sand. After sunset, a camp is set up and people gather around the bonfire for a delicious fire-cooked meal. When darkness falls, the desert sky is covered by a blanket of a thousand stars so close you can almost reach out and pick up a bunch of them.

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Our rented bikes navigate us as we follow the Lonely Planet map through the palm fields and olive gardens which surround the town center in an almost perfect circle. The long leaves touch our heads gently and we stretch out our hands to pick some dates. It was the sweetest dates I ever tasted, fresh off a palm tree. It was only our second day in Siwa and we couldn’t be more eager to have our own tour in its whereabouts, so we rented some bikes from a local shop and headed on a lonely-traveler adventure across the fields. Four km away from the town, the hill of Aghurmi stands ahead as we approach the small ticket office on the side of the road. We climb up the short hill into the ruins of the temple of the Oracle.

At some point in time, probably around 700 BC, this temple which was originally built in worship to the sun god Amon-Ra, housed a divine oracle whose fame was widespread in the eastern Mediterranean. However, the temple itself has placed itself in historical tales because of one single visit. In 331, Alexander the great, having conquered Egypt which was then ruled by Persians, set sail from his newly-founded city of Alexandria, reached Mersa Matruh, and marched toward Siwa along the desert route that we’ve just used only yesterday.  As it was customary for each of the pharaohs of Egypt’s 28th Dynasty to travel to Siwa to be acknowledged at the temple there as the son of Amon-Ra, Alexander was no less. He wanted the same declaration of divine power to legitimize his conquest of Egypt and put himself on the same footing as the pharaohs. As we enter the temple, or what’s left of it, nothing seems apparent of such a great history. The site is more of crumbled walls and passages than any specific structure. However, the magnificent panoramic view of the town and its surrounding fields and natural springs is alone worth the 4km trip.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We take a different route back to the center of town. On the way we stop by a large field to have our lunch. We’d grabbed some tuna cans, bread, cheese and some drinks from the local supermarket early this morning, so all we had to do was a dinner table, so we improvised one! A few wooden logs thrown here and there did the trick, using some as seats and a couple of them as a table to lay our food on. Soon, we had company too, as some local children with ages ranging from 4 years old to 10 years old gathered in silence watching us from afar. We tried  to invite them over but they wouldn’t approach, they just giggled and exchanged naughty remarks about the “strangers in their field”. One of them, a skinny 7 years old boy had the courage to ask us if we would like some dates. It’d have been such a silly question to ask him “from where?”, so we just nodded. He then literally “walked” his way up a three storey palm tree in an unspoken agility, held the end of his red shirt with his teeth and filled the gap in between with some dates then “walked” – this time backwards – again down to earth. He dropped the dates right in front of our amazed eyes and ran back to join his gang. We wereso touched by the gentle gesture that we insisted to offer the kids some biscuits in exchange, the younger ones showed interest, but the older ones quickly refused politely saying that give-away food is for charity, and they wouldn’t accept charity. A wave of disappointment at my “modern” life acquired culture struck me as I realized the pride of a 7 -10 bare-footed years old in simple clothes who understand the difference between “need” and “desire” almost instinctively.

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As we reach the center of town we realize that we have to ride one more kilometer out of town, this time towards the north and along the main road, in order to visit “Jabal Al Mawta” or the “mountain of the dead”.  We park our bikes in front of a souvenir booth and head to the ticket office. The area was loaded with tourists, and accordingly security personnel were checking on every visitor, asking where you came from and in which hotel you are staying. Past the security clearance, we make our way up the eng

After a 10 kilometers bike ride all day, it’s only sane to have some rest. So we head back to the hotel for a quiet nap that lasts till eight in the evening. We had heard during the day that a café near Cleopatra spring offers a nice dinner over a bonfire and if we’re lucky there’d be a Siwan show. Not exactly knowing what to expect a “Siwan show” to be, we rent a couple of donkey-carts to take us to the spring. Moving through pitch black narrow lanes among the fields, it takes us around 15 minutes before we could see the bonfire and hear the loud chanting accompanied by soft drum beats. Suited in a secluded area right in the middle of the endless fields is this natural water spring known a Juba spring or Cleopatra spring. In the morning, it looks like a circular swimming pool, and is treated as one too since most visitors cannot resist taking a dive into its emerald water. Right next to the spring is a small café, with wooden rooftop, wooden chairs and woolen rags and pillows spread about. A bonfire is lit in the middle of the yard next to the spring, while candles are spread all around the concrete edge of the spring. Diners are invited to pick up their food from an open buffet set up inside the café, then choose their seat in the yard, circling the Siwan ensemble of men in their local costumes of white “gelbab” and head cover – called “hammudi” – who enthusiastically chant in their special Siwan language to the beats of a couple of drummers. A couple of them also perform some sort of a traditional belly dance as part of the entertaining show.raved stone steps marking the route to the top. The entire platform of the mountain is covered with grave hol  es, sometimes only inches apart, such that the whole mountain is but one huge necropolis. The tombs date from the 26th Dynasty, the Greek (Ptolemaic) and the Roman periods and some of them are open for visitors. The most popular ones show paintings of ancient Egyptian gods on their walls alongside hieroglyphic scriptures. Reaching the tip of the mountain you have yet another marvelous panoramic view of the whole oasis and its surroundings.

It’s next to impossible to experience Siwa in just two days, let alone summing up a history that is as old as history itself in just a few pages.  But our visit to Siwa had to come to an early end as we had to head back to Alexandria early next morning. However, these two days had left an imprint on my soul that would probably last forever. It is said that Siwa casts a spell on all its visitors, just one visit is enough to make you addicted to it forever.  So, I’m sure that this will not be the last I see of this wondrous land. Siwa still has a lot of treasures to discover and deeper culture to experience, so let that be another story to tell.

By: Shereen Adel