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Parking lot


Filed by Tarek Atia
February 28, 2001 I was on a side street near Tahrir Square trying to get to the main thoroughfare. There was a large truck stopped in front of me so I couldn't see what was going on.
It wouldn't have made much of a difference had I could. Basically nothing was moving. It was complete and utter gridlock, and it had been like this all day.
In the morning, I had an eleven o'clock appointment downtown, so I left Heliopolis at about 10:20. Just enough time to make it, I figured.
But I had figured wrong. Very wrong. By 11:00 I had progressed about twenty meters or so on 6 October Bridge. Literally. I'd never seen anything like this before, not even in Ramadan. The city was a parking lot. And to make things worse, a dusty haze had settled on everything, making it impossible to see more than a few feet ahead.
I finally made it to my appointment, an hour late, at noon. Finding parking took another half an hour or so. By the time I got to the place, the person I was supposed to meet had left.
The rest of the day was no different. Everywhere you looked there was either a traffic jam, or a devastatingly long line. Suddenly everyone in Cairo was in a hurry to go to the bank, the shops, wherever. Everyone wanted to get whatever they needed done before the long eid holiday.
The holiday that would turn things around nearly 180 degrees. Sunny skies and empty streets. Everyone was looking forward to a happy eid.

February 28, 2001 Did you like this article? Send your comments to

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