Monday, February 7, 2011

Cairo experience 4 ....

Sunday 30th Jan

I woke up with Danny telling me he was heading in to Downtown
whilst it was still quiet to pick up some things for a couple of nights,
as he too hadn't brought much with him,
and did he want him to pick up something from my apartment also?

I decided to go along with him.
It was eerily quiet on the streets,
make shift barricades had popped up over night,
street patrols had come into order.
Every man you saw walking around was carrying a stick or make-shift weapon of some sort.
I told Danny we needed to pick up some lead piping or a
candlestick holder or something for protection,
he reminded me that we weren't playing Cluedo.

Dannys' apartment was right in the thick of things.
His apartment is opposite the Ministry of Interior where a lot of the major gun-fighting
had been going on. To get to his front door we had to convince 2 different
tank barricades that he lived there.

The street in front of his door was littered with police uniforms,
hats, trousers, shoes, shirts, body armour,
that had been abandoned or ripped off of them....
i dont know which.
I picked up a couple of items as a memento.

His flatmate was home, having returned from his
holiday in the States the previous night.
He told us how on finally getting a taxi to bring him nearby he had had to run
down the street to his house through a midst of gun-fire.
His night been far more dramatic than ours, with gunfights happening in his stairwell and whatnot. I could tell Danny was bummed at having missed out on the action. I on the other hand was anxious to get back to Maadi before anything started up again.

My street was fairly quiet and my apartment just as i had left it....
I contemplated what i should take
I took some money, my laptop, clean underwear, a change of clothes and my scriptures. Everything else just looked like material possessions.

Life in my neighbourhood was carrying on as normal.
The fruit and veg market was up and functioning and people were not buying at any desperate rates. There was of course the odd looted shop and savaged police uniforms lying around, and off course the tanks that were stationed on each corner.

In Maadi we stopped and visited some friends before
heading back to the Davies. Most of them had now begun the process of evacuating.

Later that evening i received a phonecall from some of my friends from work.
They were in a state of hysteria.
They had fled to the airport and were desperately trying to get a flight out of the country, they were begging me to come along. It was at this point that i realised how calm my experience
had been, not because mine had been less dramatic than theirs,
it was more to do with the company i had been keeping.
We hadn't let ourselves get stressed out,
we had been making the experience relaxed and occasionally slightly fun for each other.

Later that evening i received a phonecall from Captain Tim.
He had been away snowboarding and hadn't quite been following what was going on.....geee...thanks for the concern.
At any rate, he got concerned when our call was interrupted by a round of gunfire (which had begun to be a bit like background noise to us now)

He said he wanted to get me a ticket to leave.
I wasn't sure....i want in the desperate panic to get out of the country that others were in.
But in the end i decided that it was best, seeing as i didnt have any work on at the moment, what with the Opera house having been closed, and my Director letting the dancers know that our contracts would not be jeopardised by our leaving seeing as the Embassies were now beginning to evacuate.

So a ticket was booked for the next morning.

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