Pandemic is excited about trying to cycle the Sahara desert. Well as, excited as a bicycle projected with human emotions can be. The lights of Cairo radiate up ahead through the plane window, non-existing boats off of Cyprus, a distance memory, one yellow fever mandatory vaccine later from the 24hr airport clinic and I am off with Pandemic strapped to the roof of the taxi.
The next morning, after rebuilding Pandemic, I take a stroll through the streets to look for the Nile River which I will be following to leave the city for the western desert. Due to news report of recent protests, I gingerly walk towards Tahrir square. “Welcome to Egypt”, I hear bellowed over the noise of the congestion. The streets are a mesmerizing blend of honking, smiling and pedestrian traffic.
Not a few steps pass and I meet a university student who is studying law, “Go to Tahrir Square” see where the Egyptian revolution took place. I smile, for the news will tell you I am apparently already standing in it.
Tahrir square is bustling with activity. Egyptian flags clutter the dirt embankment, people smile amongst the noise, soot and overpopulated chaos as supportive giggling vendors watch me take photos. A graffiti memorial facing the square has attracted an audience. The painting depicts the Massacre at the football stadium in Port Said just a few weeks ago.
Gainfully employed men, no doubt more focused on employment then politics are slathering over the artwork of angel winged football players amongst soldier green paint. A small group of locals and tourists are snapping photos telling the men to stop the artwork defaming, it’s a memorial. The tourists see me standing to the back of the crowd with my camera, “are you a journalist” they inquire. No I laugh, I am going to try to cycle through Egypt, I leave Cairo in the morning. “Best of luck, Egypt is changing, Friday morning traffic should be good, everyone will be at the mosque praying”.