Hurghada seems like a fine place on the outside, but once you find yourself lost at the very centre of this chaotic Egyptian city, I’m sure you view will be a lot different – cars and small taxi-like busses everywhere, all beeping and honking in hope of catching a good customer. – I happened to be in this situation, and “fortunately” I had managed to stop one of the small busses, expecting that the driver could get me home to my hotel, before the hours of darkness.
I had only been in the town for one day and, as any other tourist would do on his first day in another country, I was taking a look at the town I was going to stay in. I had chosen to look at the town from the inside – that is ‘the centre’. Lots of Egyptian vendor
He seemed sort of blessed, as if he had been chosen to drive me home. “Come in, come in” he said with his big smiling face. “No problem” he kept saying, trying to draw my attention away from him clearing the seat where I was supposed to sit. – There were some torn bits of newspaper and plastic-wrapping pieces, as if the van had been used as a moving truck earlier that day.
“Where you go?” he shouted as I was entering the vehicle. – I then explained that I wanted to go to that particular hotel, in that area. “No problem” he said – and off we drove. I was surprised how fast he accelerated away from the roadside back into the traffic. I was literally forced deep into the back of my seat with my head bumping into the head-rest. I was a bit stunned, but I didn’t say a thing assuming it was an accident.
We got out of the traffic somewhat quickly – it was only a matter of seconds after the head-bumping incident that I found myself on the main road, travelling at a speed, that will make you loose your drivers license if done in my country.
Every few seconds the driver would sound his horn at the passing traffic and wave, as if he knew each and everyone.
The road didn’t seem that occupied – but unfortunately for the driver, there was a massive traffic jam waiting further down the road.
With his head out of the window he was shouting something I couldn’t understand, but I could tell that it wasn’t totally free from any Arabic swear words.
Banging his head into the steering wheel, I noticed a change in his facial expression, as if he had seen something extraordinary. He grabbed the wheels and made a sharp turn to the left, while he rammed his foot into the pedal – I was thinking: “He’s not going to do that, is he?” – But unfortunately for me, he was. Once again my head was slammed into the back of my seat and before I had time to recover I found myself in the WRONG side of the road. It went against all what I’ve been taught regarding driving. We were shifting from one lane to another. I didn’t have the nerves to look out the window, because I knew that this wouldn’t end well.
I protested, telling the man to “DRIVE PROPERLY!”
“No problem, no problem” he said.
“Is that the only word he knows” I was grumbling to myself, wondering if he even knew what it meant, and I don’t think he did, because he didn’t do as I told him. He was still shifting from right to left at a speed you wouldn’t even see on TV.
I thought to myself: “This is enough; I want to get off this vehicle right now”, and I shouted at the driver what I had just been thinking, but not surprising, the respond I got was: “No problem, no problem”. Now I was really getting angry, I looked the man straight in the eye through the rear view mirror and shouted: “All right, Mr. No Problem. If you don’t put me off this vehicle right now, I’ll do something to your bus!”
Luckily the man actually understood this and he chose to do as I said, and drove me to a decent drop-off place, at a nice civilized speed in the right lane. Now I just had to find another taxi. – Here we go again.