Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Day On The Mediterranean

Using a visit with family as a much needed excuse get out of Cairo, my uncle, two cousins and I had a relaxing day in Alexandria. Alex is beautiful, clean, right on the Mediterranean and less crowded. After getting sick from the pollution and deluge of smokers in Cairo, I needed a one day reprieve to breath fresh air. It was windy cold, but worth every breath. Seriously, next time you hear some whackjob complain about "eco-Nazis", please put him or her on a plane to Cairo. One ride in traffic will do the trick. It is a testament to the strength of Egyptians that the entire population has not dropped dead of lung cancer. But I digress.

After the two-hour train ride from Cairo to Alex, we headed straight to the new Alexandria library. I heard about it a while back, but had no idea what to expect. Unfortunately, my aunt's computer is so ancient there is no USB port, but I will post photos when I get to my grandmother's house tomorrow. The ancient Library of Alexandria, if it really existed, burned down centuries ago, but the new one is worthy of its predecessor. Indeed, it is probably the most impressive thing Egyptians have built since the pyramids.

***

Cairo is so densely populated, the government is spearheading massive development projects, including the construction of new cities on the outskirts of Cairo. The English language channel had a program the other night that described the 27 cities that have already been built and the 41 that are underway.

One of my cousins bought a house in one of the new neighborhoods and it is impressive. Cairo is like NY City, in that people live in high rises, not in houses. In contrast, the new cities are modeled after the tracked homes of the west coast, with swimming pools, golf courses, etc. Office parks, universities and clubs will join the homes in the new parts of Cairo in an effort to move traffic away from the center of town. Egyptians have to do something, because the pace of population growth is not manageable.

***

The African Cup finals are the buzz here in Cairo. Egypt tied Morocco 0-0 last night. Cameroon, Nigeria and Ivory Coast are the teams to beat, although my uncle says Tunisia is making an impressive showing. I asked if we could go to a game, but no one was interested. Apparently, the traffic and lack of parking are enough to deter sensible people from going anywhere near the stadiums.

14 Comments:

At 1:46 PM, January 27, 2006 , Blogger d nova said...

glad u'r enjoying ur trip.

i posted new comment on ur 10 jan entry.

 
At 4:00 PM, January 27, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

You wouldn't believe what's going on right now! Please click here to be politically active to "fight the power!" Scroll down past the poll (which is related to the article) and read - and if you'd like - comment!

 
At 5:47 PM, January 27, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

The library of Alexandria definitely existed; it was destroyed sometime between AD 350 and AD 650, probably in a continuous process. The christers didn't have much truck with such heathen stuff as libraries, and neither did the muslims when they came in about AD 642, I believe it was.

Here's the link. Very interesting development, certainly the best news out of that part of the world in a long while.

:-), StS

 
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