On the Road in Egypt

We saw our most interesting highway interchange of all time in Egypt in 2016.

The standard traffic flow was to leave the highway you were driving on, drive across the open desert in the direction you wanted to turn, and then merge on to a separate highway going in that direction. Buses, cars, trucks, semis and motorcycles all took these bumpy, dusty, sandy, off-road routes. How they determined where they were supposed to turn off or get back on the road, I don’t know. Perhaps it was just whichever way followed the tire tracks in the desert. All I know is that it was very exciting terrain for our tour bus.

Cairo itself was also fascinating. The lanes in Cairo had absolutely nothing to do with the lines that were sometimes painted on the road. There seemed to be an algorithm: The expected number of lanes on a road in Cairo equaled the number of vehicles that could comfortably fit side-by-side in the road and shoulder combined, plus 1.

We squeezed our way between bread drying trucks, construction vehicles, rusty sedans and tiny mopeds in this fashion and it made me very glad I wasn’t the one holding the steering wheel.