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Day 48: Return from Jerusalem to Eilat to Taba to Cairo

Sunday, May 23, 2010
Caught the city bus to the Central Bus Station and caught out 7 am bus to Eilat. Had some confusion at the bus station because we tried to print our online bus tickets from the machine. The hotel guy who bought the tickets for me used his id number which we didn't know. The bus people straightened it out for me and we got on one of the three buses that were leaving for Eilat with the gambling crowd.

Got to Eilat and had to rush to the border to catch our 12:30 pm bus on the other side. Took a taxi to the border and then got mixed up paying the exit taxes so lost our place in line a few times.

On the Egyptian side we didn't get out in time for the bus but there were some other guys offering minibus service to Cairo. We waited in their minibus for awhile which they had to fill before we could leave. Waited about an hour and nobody else signed up so we started walking to the bus station. The minibus guy followed us and kept trying to make a deal. We got to the bus station and there was another minibus leaving from there so we took it. The first guy kept telling the second guy how much to charge so we had to speak to him directly to get a decent price.

Took the long miniibus ride to Cairo. Sometimes the driver was about to doze off and other times he was in a huge hurry and driving crazy. Finally got to Cairo about 5 hours later and the minibus stopped in the outskirts but luckily it was near a metro stop. Got on the subway and met a family of Christian Egyptians who started taking care of us. It was a young couple, their five year old, twin boys, and the wife's sister and father. The wife and sister latched onto Kate and soon started inviting us to their house. We declined a few times since it was already 9pm and we were exhausted from the road. They persisted and we finally gave in and went off to their house. They lived in Giza so we had a long subway ride from El Marg to Giza Suburban. From the subway stop, we took a tuktuk to their house. The house was run-down but huge and there were about 10 people living there.

The family was all over us, especially Kate. The ladies took her to a bedroom to comb her hair and feel her soft skin. The father help me wash up over a sink. I thought he might wash my hair for me. We had tea and then fruit and then they brought out the main spicy chicken dish with rice and pita bread. That all took a few hours. We showed them some of our pictures and they made Kate sing some Christian songs from her MP3. We took pictures with them and they asked us a million questions. Luckily the son and the brother in law could speak decent English.

The family wanted us to spend the night but Kate had had enough so we had to insist on leaving saying that we had already paid for the hotel, which was true. Earlier on they had told us that the father would take us back to the hotel but then we found out that he just had a moped. The new plan was for the father to take us to catch a taxi and we thought it would just be a quick ride to the taxi stop. The three of us hopped on the tiny moped with our big backpack and other bag and headed off at about 1am. There was a ton of traffic and it was a hectic ride on the back roads. Then daddy surprised us by getting on what looked like a freeway. He was weaving in and out of traffice while cars whizzed all around us and he just kept on going. We thought he was taking us all the way back to the hotel which was about 30km away but he finally stopped and let us off. I was practically sitting on the brake light and I was wondering the whole time what would happen if it snapped off and I was sent onto the pavement with all of the cars buzzing around. Kate seemed calm but as soon as we got in the taxi she had to take some hits off of her inhaler. The taxi ride was just over a buck and took about 10 minutes to get to our area and 10 more to find the street and hotel since the taxi driver didn't know where either. He tried to old Costa Rican taxi driver trick of shutting off the meter before could see the final total so we just paid him what we had last seen on the meter and he got a little excited but we walked away.

We got the huge master suite at the hotel, probably because there were no other rooms available at 1:30am on a Sunday. It was nice to sleep without mosquitos or noise.

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