Thought you'd get a giggle out of today's revolution news: Marisa and I stumbled upon a big demonstration by stock brokers and bankers who were out protesting for higher wages in front of the Cairo stock exchange... it was announced today that the exchange will remain closed for 3 more days. I have to say -- their suits and ties are beautiful -- they have very good tailors here in Cairo -- and the wall street bankers could learn something here. Egyptian bankers are so very handsome!!!!! How could you hate them?
I also heard that there was a big demonstration by the police for more pay -- but I did not actually witness that demonstration -- we also saw large demonstrations around several of the mosques near our hotel.
Marisa had to apply for a new passport at the Brazilian embassy today, and we inadvertently walked into a slum right next to downtown as we "explored" Cairo -- I've accidentally walked into other 3rd world slums and been afraid -- but I had no sense of fear today... I think people were just surprised to see tourists... they kept pointing us in the direction of "Tahrir"... we didn't even have to ask for directions. There were many stark contrasts between Tahrir Square and the slum... most notably -- there was no flag waving and no flags! We had to cross over an open sewer -- there was a 10 meter high concrete wall separating the slum from downtown -- there were abandoned cars completely stuffed with garbage everywhere... some cars were completely chopped -- and some must have been abandoned decades ago.
Tomorrow is valentines day -- Marisa and I are going to see the Pyramids -- we expect to have no problem making the daily quota of tourists (300 per day) ... we'll have the Pyramids to ourselves ... though we have seen a few more tourists now... notably, two American tourists posing as "free lance journalists." Coincidently, one was a friend Marisa made in Bethlehem six weeks ago. They have expensive camera gear and tape recorders... now that all the highly financed western media operations are gone -- they hope to find a story they can sell -- I doubt they'll venture into the slum or even notice the wall -- but there's no shortage of photo opportunities everywhere -- between Egyptian families eager to have their children photographed with tank operators -- and burned out police vehicles -- one thing is for sure -- people hate the police, and they love the army. I can see why the police are so pissed about this situation -- after doing Mubarak's dirty work for 30 years -- they have nothing now.
We noticed on our way into Cairo yesterday that a huge police compound east of the city was completely surrounded by tanks, barbed wire and barricades -- the Egyptian/Canadian friend that drove us here said he wasn't sure if the military was protecting the police or imprisoning them.
Or is it just political theater? Time will tell -- and I'm hedging my bet.