Work have saw fit to let me out of the office for a few days with an instruction to “get face time with key stakeholders and internal partners to ensure alignment and improve engagement”. I don’t know what that means either, but being ex-military, I know all about blindly obeying orders without actually understanding them.
So here I am, in Cairo, fourth visit, but first one since the Arab Spring. I’d forgotten how insane a place this is, big, dirty and congested, the relentless, mind-numbing tooting of horns ever present. It’s like Mumbai on a cocaine speedball, minus the wobbling heads of course. It does however give me the chance to say “Mish Mushkila” a lot, which is my favourite (and actually only) Arabic colloquialism.
On the way from the airport and with time to pass in the ever present traffic jams, I started thinking that Cairo might be able to challenge World-record-busting-Dubai with a few records of its own. Perhaps not the records you’d find in Guinness, but no less reasonable than ‘World’s Biggest Audi Showroom’ or ‘World’s only [self appointed] seven star hotel’.
So here we go, my nominations for Cairo’s list of world records;
– Most confusing airport arrivals area and redundant customs lane – World’s craziest drivers
– Most unfinished construction projects (yes, even more than Dubai) – Highest number of vehicles crammed into three lanes of highway – Most people wedged into a car
– Highest number of donkeys on the motorway
– Most dented cars (per square foot)
– Most unlikely place to have an Ikea store
And this morning, my hotel scooped ‘World’s worst hotel breakfast’, which
they serve in the atrium of an adjoining mall, charging $50 (not Egyptian pounds, I checked) for toast, luke warm coffee and cold pastries.
It’s good to be back, yani.