Egyp­tian odyssey: pyra­mids, beau­ti­ful women, hyp­o­crit­i­cal men

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

‘YOU can’t look at her that way,” he re­buked. “But why not?” I asked “Be­cause it is not al­lowed,” he ex­plained.

Break­fast time at the Hil­ton Ho­tel in Alexandria, Egypt and the Egyp­tian men are not tak­ing kindly to our ad­mir­ing “their” women.

The lasses who served us break­fast were pretty good-look­ing and the boys play­fully flirted. But their col­leagues didn’t like it and used some sob story about the law and re­li­gion to try and stop us, the fact that the fe­males seemed to en­joy the at­ten­tion not­with­stand­ing.

A day later, we took plea­sure call­ing them to or­der when we caught them drool­ing over a South African woman who had made the trip to sup­port Bafana Bafana.

“Leave her alone, she’s mar­ried,” we told the bloody hyp­ocrites.

Egypt 2006 may have been a night­mare for Bafana Bafana on the field, but I had a mo­erse jol.

Be­fore we left Cairo where Bafana played a pre-tour­na­ment friendly with the hosts, we did some sight­see­ing.

A trip to the famed pyra­mids of Giza is a must when­ever in Cairo so, along with col­leagues Kgomotso Mokoena and Ti­mothy Molobi, we got a taxi and headed there.

If you think South Africans are bad taxi driv­ers, you ob­vi­ously haven’t been to Cairo yet. There, it is the case of he who hoots the loud­est has the right of way. And al­most with­out fault all the taxi driv­ers smoke like chim­neys and the word “Don­key” is on the tip of their tongue, their favourite swear word, di­rected at fel­low driv­ers.

The one thing South Africans can learn from the rest of the con­ti­nent is to hus­tle. Sure a lot of us, es­pe­cially here in Jozi, com­plain about the hawk­ers at the traf­fic lights. But that is noth­ing com­pared to how other Africans push their wares to you.

And so it was that we got sold all kinds of good­ies while at the Pyra­mids, from bags through pa­pyrus cal­en­dars, book­marks with hi­ero­glyph­ics and minia­ture pyra­mids as well as lots of per­fumes. Most of the shops of­fered us free tea to lure us.

Such is their re­source­ful­ness that some of the Egyp­tians would will­ingly vol­un­teer a story of how the Sphinx got its nose bro­ken only to in­sist that you pay them upon their re­gal­ing you with the tale.

And then we got con­vinced to go for a camel ride. What a hairy ex­pe­ri­ence! I re­mem­ber scream­ing “let me down, let me down” the mo­ment the camel got up from its sit­ting po­si­tion, the an­i­mal was that high. My screams fell on deaf ears and soon we were on Giza’s streets.

But then on a very nar­row pas­sage, dis­as­ter struck. A cou­ple of dogs came out from nowhere and their bark­ing scared the liv­ing day­lights out of the camels which pan­icked. For­tu­nately there were walls on both sides and we jumped off on to, and over them, sus­tain­ing scratches in the process.

Alexandria was way calmer, be­ing as it is right on the Mediter­ranean Sea and I got to en­joy lots of walks by the beach – some in the de­light­ful com­pany of the lovely SA lady we’d res­cued from the drool­ing Egyp­tians.

Din­ners in Alexandria were huge feasts at dif­fer­ent restau­rants for the SA me­dia con­tin­gent, some of whom en­joyed the hub­bly-bub­bly so much they brought some home.

No Bafana Afcon is ever with­out the usual battle for money and HOD Mubarak Mo­hamed pinned it all on Benni McCarthy who later re­fused to play for SA un­til the of­fi­cial apol­o­gised.

We, on the other hand, made no apolo­gies for giv­ing the pretty ho­tel lasses come-hither looks.

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