Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles

January 10, 2010


Filed under: BONUS! — Kaddee @ 6:32 am

For those who have been to Cairo, the traffic is… utterly indescribable.

cairotraffic2 cairotraffic

(**Previous picture of Cairo traffic deleted at the request of its owner** Above left: from http://www.stanford.edu/group/ccr/blog/2009/10/traffic_in_cairo.html; above right: from http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/1999/444/eg13.htm)

Between the pedestrians, the blackandwhite taxis, the other drivers, myriad delivery scooters, the police “directing traffic” (often while sleeping), the occasional donkey carts and bread boys (who carry pallets of bread on their heads while riding bicycles) and complete lack of or, at least, lack of attention to anything that resembles “rules of the road” it makes Cairo a very interesting place.

It is not unusual to see 4 or 5 cars abreast on a (nominally) 3 lane road.  Some of them may be driving in reverse, to get back to the exit or side street that they missed.  And even MORE interesting is how NORMAL all of this seems after having been there for a  while.

Seattle’s “traffic” is laughable after Cairo.  And, more to the point, it is difficult to understand or navigate.  People stay in lanes.  People stop for pedestrians.  Jay walking is a ticketable offense.  No-one uses reverse on the highway.  Sidewalks are not for parking, and pedestrians in the street confuse Seattlites.  One would think that these rules would make it easier – but, in my view, they prevent actual forward progress from happening.

When I see Seattle “traffic” I see this:

whereas when I see Cairo traffic, I see this:

We are modified by experience, and you can never TRULY go home.  I think my views of traffic may reflect this.

Kullu zahma. Ana mabsoota, awy!


  1. And WHAT is WITH the turn signals??? Just turn already! ;) Yeah, I’m having the same issues down here in Palo Alto. I got yelled at by my husband quite a few times in the early months of my return. And I didn’t even drive in Cairo!

    Comment by Tiffany — January 11, 2010 @ 11:04 am

  2. Been laughing for the last few min. I just finished reading your comments on the traffic in Cairo…you are so right it seems normal after a while. And no using headlights at night so you won’t blind the other drivers,reaching your hand out of the window to tap the car next to you to let them know they are too close. Oh and when a donkey cart gets stuck on a too steep a ramp people stop and help push the cart till he gets to the top. I could ramble on for a while but I won’t. Sigh…I miss Egypt.

    Comment by Mary — January 23, 2010 @ 6:02 am

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