Alexandria

(Second in a three part series of my journey back to war torn Libya in Sept 2011.)

Alexandria founded in 331 b.c by Alexander the Great is Egypt’s second largest city.We landed at the old Alexandria airport(since closed for renovation).After a quick immigration check we piled into a taxi and made way towards our hotel in Rami area.Hotel Transit turned out to be a good find.Good clean rooms,a fine Mediterranean view and a hearty continental breakfast for fifty dollars.To add to the excitement it had an ancient,creaky lift to provide the thrills.

Alexandria street

Unfortunately our stay in Alexandria was short lived as we had to board a bus for Libya the same evening.Still a walk along the corniche by the sea gave us a feel of the place.The place has a old town feel to it with buildings long past their glory.Egypt is a fairly liberal Arab country and lots of young men and women were out enjoying the weather.I witnessed an altercation between a taxi driver and an Egyptian lady when his taxi bumped into her car.Things heated up quickly and the lady in hijab threw a few kicks and punches to subdue the belligerent taxi driver.

an accident on alexandria roads

We had a late lunch of the ubiquitous Arab snack; shawarma and coke before checking out of our hotel and taking a taxi to the bus station.Taxis are distinctive yellow and black;the Russian made Laada,supposed to be  sturdily built for harsh Siberian weather.Alexandria also has Africa’s oldest tram network operating since 1860.The old slow yellow trams seem an anachronism in the fast moving world around them.Saw many movie theatres , a rarity in the Arab world;a testimony to Egypt’s thriving movie industry.We had green tea at a roadside cafe with the owner encouraging me to try out his range of hookahs.Soon by nightfall we boarded an old Mercedes bus and began our thousand km journey to Benghazi .

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