Living in Italy at the time, I was at work one day when a co-worker stopped by my office and randomly asked if I wanted to join him and few other co-workers on a trip to Egypt the following weekend. I agreed without asking many questions and continued with whatever task I was working on at the time. A few days before the trip I thought it would be a good idea to do a little research on where I was going and scrolled through wiki and a couple pics on Google. “Oh cool, the pyramids are there”, I remember saying to myself. It would also be my first time on the African continent, although I would learn later in life that it is generally not considered the “real” Africa but maybe an extension of the Middle East.
It was about a 4-hour flight from Rome to Cairo. I remember instantly fearing for my life on the drive from the airport to the hotel. Prior to the trip I thought driving did not get any more frightening than in Naples, Italy but Cairo made Naples look like Norway.
We explored a decent number of cities (Cairo, Giza, Memphis, Alexandria, etc.). Visited markets, rug factories, cruised down the Nile river, climbed through pyramids, etc. As interesting as all of this sounds, Egypt even all these years and countries later is still my worst trip. It is kind of ironic being that we were on African soil, but Egyptians are hardcore racist from my experience. I also did not feel safe the entire time in the country. Police armed with AK-47’s on every corner, metal detectors to get into any building, our driver falling asleep behind the wheel numerous times, insane flooding anytime it rained, etc. This was 10 years ago so maybe things have changed but this trip turned me off from exploring North Africa any further and sticking to Europe. I’ve since warmed up to exploring Africa further and letting the past be the past but it was a really weird experience at the time.