Egypt....Worlds worst place to backpack #8

Egypt - Where it all began...

Egypt vs. Algeria 2-0

That's the countries tourism slogan. Maybe they should change it to, Egypt - Where it all went wrong.

Every embassy in the world has told it's residents to leave. There are hundreds of thousands of steamed up people taking to the streets all over the country. 

Forget your city break in Cairo. There are mercenary thugs on horseback and hooligans on bleeting camels storming down the cities streets. Chances are the camels won't be the only ones spitting on you. Expect a barrage of confrontation and confusion involving most people you run into. Everyone is involved in this uprising, the fever has spread.

Protest on Tahrir Square

But is it all bad? A revolution is a collective wave of like minded values, a sea of souls gathered together in unity of a common fight. Luckily the fight is directed at the ruling president of 30 years, President Mubarak, and not foreigners. If you love throwing stones at authority and screaming chants in a foreign language, this could be on your list of the worlds best place to backpack.

Protest on Tahrir
Protest on Tahrir

Petrol bombs and tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets, rocks and concrete slabs flying through the air, it makes for some great photos but the real threat of being struck down by a live round of ammunition is high. Authorities say 11 people have been killed so far, the UN put that figure at close to 300 people in just over a week.

Watch this clip on youtube to see a man shot at close range by the army.

The president is said to be worth $70 billion………thats not just a couple of lazy million lying around a Swiss bank account, thats 70 billion of amassed wealth. No wonder the people are taking to the streets and are really pissed at the high levels of poverty in day to day life.

Visiting the pyramids could take you awhile as most of the tour guides are on the streets. Hotel doors in central Cairo are boarded up and taxis have pretty much ground to a halt, as the streets are too chaotic to drive through.

Downtown Cairo

The media has been all but shut down over the past week, forget trying to log onto your Facebook page as the only tweeting you'll be doing is from a rooftop at the moon. Funnily enough, the revolt in Iran last year took place from the rooftops of its buildings so anything is possible.

Freedom of speech is a pillar of independence, strength and independence in any democratic nation. For 30 years in Egypt the voices of its people have been suppressed and the lid has been finally lifted. Its boiled over. The resulting steam is thick with rage and is flowing throughout the streets of the nations major cities.

Mubarak Burns

So no Facebook, no Twitter, no Youtube. Its not the first time we have witnessed social media trying to bring about social justice.

But perhaps this is the place to go right now? Flights are cheap and hotel prices have been slashed, literally.  Although upon closer inspection, the airports may be unmanned so it could be a rocky landing and even shadier reception. But hey, this is living no?! Walzing into hotspots with your backpack on……errrm, no, no its not. Its just plain stupid. It's hostile there right now, there's anger and violence on the streets.

The infrastructure needed for a seamless backpacking trip is simply not functioning right now. Above all, a backpacking trip to Egypt right now would be just foolish and maybe even ignorant.

The messages on Tahrir Square

Protests like these change the world. From Berlin to Bolivia, when people take to the streets, they mean business. It is their last resort of action. It often means violence is imminent, whether its the venting of the peoples frustrations or from the nervousness of the regimes forces.

Down wt Mobarak

I have been involved in street protests when they turn ugly. Its definitely not pretty. Trying to get that last camera shot, or just out there to soak up the magnitude and power of the people en masse, in a blink of an eye the situation can flip. Bullets fly, people turn and flee in every direction, its panic x 10,000volts, frantic pushing and shoving, tear gas burning your eyes until your stomach retches upon itself, ripping up the lining of your oesophagus.

whole city tear gassed, can't breathe

I remember witnessing a man getting beaten only metres away from me. As we both fled the onslaught of the charging army, he had slipped as we ran rounded a street corner onto another small side street. I didn't dare stop but as I looked behind me he was being beaten with clubs by several soliders. I will never forget that image of him curled up on his back with his hands and feet raised, trying to cushion the storm of blows reigning down upon him.

Egypt. Nah. Not now. Ill rain check this country for the time being til this storm blows over.

So thanks to President Mubarak and his despicable ways, Egypt has made its way onto my list of the worlds worst places to backpack #8


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