Crossing the road, photo by Mika Elgendi, www.cairoconfident.com

The art of crossing roads in Cairo

I was standing at the sidewalk. My husband took my hand and pulled me down onto a busy road. Cars were speeding towards us, honking, no one slowing down even a little bit. I was literally paralyzed. I couldn't walk, couldn't breath, couldn't hear what he was saying. All I knew, I was going to die and it was going to be that day.

We took three small steps and stopped in the first third of the road. Cars were flowing around us. We waited for another gap in the flow and took next three steps, we got to the middle. Gap, go, gap, go and we made it to the other side.

How Egyptians do it?

Cairo, the city, where in some areas, crosswalks, traffic lights and white lines are next to nonexistent. People cross roads this way all the time. The first one in the row should be the most skilled of all, cause he is deciding, when the whole group lined up by his other side moves together with him. And yes, if the first one gets hit, they all go down with him I guess :)

What I love about Egyptians, they are absolutely relaxed and calm while crossing the roads this way. Actually, if they see, that you are a foreigner, scared or just a beginner or all in one, they gladly invite you to join “their group” to cross together. I’m kidding you not, they will hold each other’s hands and run among the cars together. Last time I had two visitors here, I was taking them to the other side of a busy road in front of the Egyptian museum. They were not very convinced, as they were experiencing their cultural shock at it's finest. An old man saw me struggling with the two of them, so he came to us and said: “Come my friends, I cross you” and he grabbed my brother's hand. I’m literally tearing from laughing, every time I think of this story.

If you are on your own and you are worried to cross the road, you have these following options:

1. Walk along the road till you find a speed bump. Cars usually, but not necessarily, slow down there or almost stop, so your chances to make it are higher.

2. Walk along the road, till you find a spot, where the road gets narrow enough for only one or two cars. This way you don’t stuck in the middle of the road, waiting for the gap in the traffic flow. If you are standing between two imaginary car lines, DO NOT, by any means, take a step back, cause the cars will be passing behind you, like 20 cm away. I repeat do not reverse, ever.

3. If you see  a bridge crossing above the road, walk there and use it. They are usually near by the metro stations.

4. Ask someone to “cross you my friend” :)

5. Find a policeman to help you cross the road, they are standing at every corner.

6.Take a taxi, seriously the safest way is to take a taxi, this way you don’t walk outside in the heat and struggle with crossing, car will drop you off at your destination. I’ll be talking about taxi services more at the blog. Not every taxi might be a suitable option for you so watch out.

Highways

All of the above applies for the city, where traffic is congested and relatively slow, comparing to highways. My advice for crossing the highways is - just don’t do it. I see this type of suiciders often. They are running to the other side of the highway in the dark, wearing the dark clothes, often pulling a luggage behind them too, climbing over those concrete blocks in the middle. I get nausea just by looking at it. That’s just insane.

And that's all for today friends. Stay safe. TTYL

What do you think?

Send us feedback!

Made with love by Mika Elgendi. Please ask for permissin to copy my photos. Thank you