After an overnight direct flight, we finally make our arrival in Cairo, Egypt in the afternoon. After getting our luggage at the airport, we book an Uber. I’m not sure if we researched cab fare, but we didn’t want a hassle and wanted to quickly be on our way. Once we figure out the designated pick up spot, we quickly make our way there as the driver pulls up within the minute. We always have to ask the driver’s name and check the make/model of the car. The license plate numbers are Arabic, so that is not helpful.
It wasn’t the most scenic ride, but it was about 45 minutes. I immediately notice that Cairo has lots of billboards for shopping malls and stores, which I wasn’t expecting to see. It definitely felt out of place. We get to hotel, unwind a bit, and take in the view of the Nile River. It was so cool to see in person. What I immediately notice was what I thought was fog, but it turned out to be smog. Cairo has a lot of air pollution, which is no surprise due to all the cars on the road and its population of over 20 million people (as of 2016). The traffic and driving is some of the worst that I’ve seen, even over the Dominican Republic and Kewetel, Bali, which were insane.
After relaxing, we catch an Uber to Carrefour Mall, which wasn’t what we really wanted. We wanted more of a souk, but it was fine as a way to unwind on the first late afternoon. The mall was huge, with IKEA was one of its anchor stores. After the security stop for having a camera (not allowed in the mall), we went it in. There were brands like Zara and H&M, along with luxury stores and others I didn’t know. It was cool, but not over the top. We killed some time, then head back to the hotel in another Uber. I found at this point that Uber rides were quite cheap. The airport ride was about $11 USD and ride to mall was probably $5 or $6. The USD goes far in Egypt.
To end the evening, we had dinner at one of our hotel’s restaurant, but outside as it is right on the Nile River. It was a beautiful night skyline to complement a great meal (we chose Moroccan dishes).
What a relaxing end to our first day in Cairo!