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An old city, old cars, old buildings, crammed with people, 18 million of them. Set around the old, old Nile. Our tour guide tells us, “the cars-they have no lights and the drivers-they have no licences.” But the cars must have horns! I can hear a constant barrage of tooting from my comfy Marriott bed inside the huge old palace of King Farouk. Set on the Nile, it was turned into a hotel for the opening of the Suez Canal.

Shops, not so appealing, open from 10.00am to midnight. Friday is the weekend, a day for sleep and a great day for the tourist on the move as the cars with the tooting horns are not so prevalent. We are told it is safe. I have never seen so many policemen.

Security is high. Every car is checked upon stopping outside the hotel, a mirror is run around the bottom and the boot opened. Upon entry to the hotel, every guest goes through an x-ray machine and all hand baggage is x-rayed as well.

The streets are full of old black and white Peugeot taxis, sad donkeys pulling loads too heavy, a mosque spilling its worshippers onto the street and into the fresh bread store next door, herds of sheep, goats asleep on the streets under trees, fruit and vegetable stalls. Could it be market day?

The traffic runs all night. Cairo-an old city that never sleeps.

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