Sunday, June 10, 2012

Photos: Egyptian traffic

i saw a wide range of traffic conditions in my time in Egypt. i stayed in Giza, and traveled through Cairo, Saqaara, Memphis and Dashur. These are some of the pics i snapped to try to show what it was like. i had several drivers, but Sharif was by far the best. You should definitely look him up (info in that link) if you are going to be traveling there.

On the road to Saqqara.
 That kid had just jumped out of one truck back at the intersection and then hitched a ride with this other one, climbing up onto the bumper when it slowed down, and then climbing all the way in at another light.

Tahir Square

Tahir Square was the site of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power. It is right near the Egyptian Museum, so we drove right by it. It was closed off to traffic and there were some people and lots of vendors around. i met some people who were staying in a hotel on the square and they said it was loud and crowded at night but they hadn't had any problems.

Cairo traffic
 This is what it was like most of the time in Cairo, stopped or crawling traffic. i asked the driver if he got tired of the traffic being so bad and he said this was a good day!

Highway ends in a ditch, outside Giza.
If that looks like 4 lanes of traffic coming towards us, that's because it is. We were crusing along at about 50miles per hour when Sharif had to slam on the brakes because the road construction crew had dug a 3foot-deep, 1foot wide ditch all the way across the street!! There was no sign or anything! So he had to turn around and drive back like 500yards and do a u-turn on to the other side of the divider!

Saqaara Road.

Pyramid Road, Giza.
 That's The Great Pyramid of Giza on the left and The Pyramid of Khufu on the right. Big intersections being controlled by armed traffic cops were nice, but rare.

Giza village street.
 This is the street where Sharif lived. The smallish car seemed huge in these crowded streets. Luckily, there were very few other cars. The bigger traffic problems here were store merchandise in the streets, children playing, and camels!!

"Fucking camel!" 
That's what Sharif said at this moment, with a smile. After he got to know me, he loved to say "Fucking," it really amused him.

Saqaara traffic (or at least i think that's where it was)
 So much heavy traffic! It reminded me of India, though it was not actually THAT chaotic, just almost. The way it worked was, everybody just drove wherever they wanted, and everyone else would shift to help them make it happen. BUT, as soon as anyone else made their move, everyone would shift to letting THEM go, including the other person who had just gone. It seemed to work out remarkably well actually.

Dashur village road

This narrow thing is a two way street. We were coming up behind the lady not too slowly, and the on coming car has just skidded to slow down. i happened to catch it in a moment when he was flashing his lights, indicating that we should all get out of his way!
Egyptian gas price.
i struggled pretty hard figuring out how to do all the math to convert this from liters to gallons and from Egyptian pounds into American dollars. i'd be glad if someone would check it for me, because if i did it right, they're paying $.56 per gallon of Unleaded gas!! Just 56cents!

Egyptian traffic.
We came up behind this truck going a lot faster than it was, so we crossed out into the other lane to pass, which is when we found this three-wheeled tut coming towards as at like 25mph. The craziest thing is, we went left and the tut passed BETWEEN us and and that trucking thundering next to us!!

Pyarmid Road, Giza
The road outside my hotel in Giza was full of fast-moving traffic probably 18hours per day. It was hard to get a night shot to come out, but on the right you can see people jumping out of that van. They would just slow down and let people on or off whenever and where ever they felt like. Caused chaos, drove my drivers batty.

Downtown Cairo at dawn.

My flight out left at 9.30am, so to get there two hours early we had to leave the hotel at 6.30am. In a completely un-Cairo-like way, the streets were empty and we drove straight through downtown to get there.


  1. Ryan!  I was inspired to accurately calculate the price differential between Egypt's payment for gas and the US - per your photo.  Here is what I came up with:

    1 litre = .26 gallons
    16.22 litre = 4.2 gallons
    30.01 EGP = $4.94 USD
    $4.94/4.2 gallons = $1.17 per gallon

    I looked up the national gas price range right now in the US and found the range from $3.15 - $3.83 per gallon.  Ironically (or maybe not) the south was the most cheap and both coasts (mostly california and the northeast) had the highest prices.  So, Americans are definitely paying 3 times more than in the middle east, as I imagine it's not that much different in other middle eastern countries. 

    Interesting and major food for thought!  Thanks for posting!

    New York, NY


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