Along our journey so far, we have come across some very strange sights, and some funny signs too! Among these are:
- Tunisian authorities, spraying down (presumably with water) the electricity pylons; a job we both agree is not one we’d be first in line for.
- The spread of mass tourism from Alexandria west along the Med, which results in a peculiar duality as you drive towards Alex; on the right a vast desert and occasional settlement, and on the left, sprawling replicas of the villas and golf courses, all of them currently unoccupied. What’s most depressing about this site, is that it’s harshest when you reach El Alamein, scene of such devastation in World War II and the place Cathy’s grandfather actually fought at in the war (and happily returned from, although with shrapnel wounds). It’s really odd to see what was a battlefield being turned into water-hungry tourism resorts. One sign along the way made us both laugh: it was on a banner strung over one of many the building skeletons which you pass en route. It will, presumably, one day be a new shopping centre in the middle of the desert, and it read ‘Dunes – space for rent’. Just brilliant!
- We’ve had a good laugh too at typos like ‘city enterence’ and ‘worled class performance’.
- The popular mode of transport has changed dramatically between the African countries we’ve been in to date: in Tunisia it was mopeds, in Libya everyone and his dog has a car, and in Egypt it’s donkey carts. We both saw a chap in Tunisia riding his moped, and thought he was riding side saddle, but as we got closer it was obvious he just had one leg! We agreed afterwards that it’s likely he lost the right one while riding his beloved moped! We’ve also seen grandfathers riding their bicycles, with little babas happily perched on wooden boxes in the back – granddad checks every now and then, putting out his right hand, to see by touch that she’s still there.
- Buckle up and please do not litter signs in Libya. This is a laugh! So are the speed limit signs of 80kms an hour. I joke not when I say that the average traffic speed in Tripoli was more like 80 miles per hour! Seriously, even Cairo’s traffic is not this hectic; although that said Cathy was very nearly run over by a large, air-conditioned, pyramid-visiting tourist bus in Cairo today. It was only by the skin of her very nervous teeth that she managed to avoid it’s ship-like progress towards the right hand kerb – evidently it had decided to turn right from the middle lane of a busy road; not caring a jot what was travelling in the slow (right hand) lane! Never has anyone been so pleased to still be upright after a heart-stopping couple of seconds in which you expect to hear the grate of metal on stone!