The Pan Am Series – Part III: The Cairo Hijacking

Remains of hijacked Pan Am Flight 93, N752PA "Clipper Fortune" a Boeing 747 after being blown up at Cairo.

Remains of hijacked Pan Am Flight 93, N752PA “Clipper Fortune” a Boeing 747 after being blown up at Cairo.

On 6 September 1970, Pan Am’s flight 93, a Boeing 747, departed Brussels for New York via Amsterdam.  The flight never made it to New York.

During the flight’s stopover in Amsterdam, four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP”) attempted to board an El Al flight, a Boeing 707 bound for New York.  Two got through but the other two were denied by Israeli security. These two then purchased First Class tickets on flight 93.

On the same day in Frankfurt, another group of PFLP members boarded TWA Flight 741, a Boeing 707 bound for New York; and in Zurich, members also boarded a Swissair DC-8 bound to New York as well. The Pan Am, TWA and Swissair flights were hijacked.  An attempt to hijack the El Al flight was foiled by the crew and a sky marshal. The TWA and Swissair flights were flown to and eventually landed at the PFLP’s “Revolutionary Airport” at Dawson’s Field, a remote desert airstrip in Jordan, formerly a British Royal Air Force base. The Pan Am flight was flown to Beirut, where it refueled and took on board additional PFLP members. The aircraft then flew on to Cairo instead of Dawson’s Field, because the Jordan airfield was considered too small to accommodate a 747.

On 9 September, a BOAC (now British Airways) VC-10 bound for London was hijacked after it departed from Bahrain and was taken to Dawson’s Field.

This became known as the “Dawson’s Field Hijacking”.

800px-Dawsonfieldcamels

The “Revolutionary Airport” at Dawson’s Field

The BOAC, TWA and Swissair aircraft were blown up on September 12, 1970 (below).

Dawson's_Field blowing up on Sep 12

The Pan Am aircraft, upon arrival in Cairo, was blown up almost immediately.  The late John Ferruggio was the In-Flight Director, and having been told the 747 would be blown up within eight minutes after landing, led his cabin crew team in the evacuation of 136 passengers and 17 crew-members.  Everyone survived.

Nellie Beckhans was a flight attendant on that trip, her first in Europe after years working Pan Am’s Central and South America routes.  Below are excerpts from her story about this event that appears in the book Pan American World Airways – Aviation History Through the Words of its People, published by BlueWaterPress.

From Nellie Beckhans:

“* * * We picked up passengers in Amsterdam.  Now it was time to go home.  On taxiing to the runway the plane stopped.  A few minutes later I heard a commotion in the First Class section.  From my assigned position at R3 door, facing the aft of the airplane, I turned around to see Captain John Priddy talking to the purser and some passengers.* * * After a short period of time the Captain made an announcement stating that he had to check some passengers and we were now ready for departure.  * * *  

“The airplane took off, headed for New York.  About 20 minutes later when we thought we were going to start our service, the In-flight Director made an announcement that we were to remain seated.  We were going to a different destination.   * * * The flight attendant working First Class told me that there were two hijackers and they had a gun and grenades.  They did not want anybody in First Class.  She said that the Purser was taken to the cockpit with a gun at her head.  * * * Thankfully the passenger load was light and everyone remained calm.   * * *

“Much later I heard we were going to Beirut.  * * * The hijackers wanted to go to Amman to blow up the plane.  I remember flying and flying. Meanwhile a hijacker was stringing the dynamite fuses between the seats.  * * * When the hijackers finally agreed to land in Cairo the In-flight Director called the crew together and informed us of the plan.  * * * As soon as the plane stopped I opened R4 door and the passengers evacuated.  When I was going down the chute the airplane moved and I went off the slide.  * * * It was a happy moment when we heard everyone got off the airplane.  We lost our possessions and our shoes but we were alive and safe.     

Nelida (Perez) Beckhans was based in New York from 1967 to 1970 as a Special Services Representative and from 1970 to 1982 as a Flight Attendant.  She transferred to Miami in 1982 and was stationed there through 1991.  Her length of service with Pan Am was 24 years and 8 months.

Pan American World Airways – Aviation History Through the Words of its People, cover pictured below, is a collection of essays  written by the people of Pan Am, the pilots, the flight attendants, the station managers and other staff who participated in the history making events that arguably made Pan Am the greatest airline that ever was—and certainly the most renowned and celebrated.

CoverDesign.Book2-2011

From the preface:

“On December 11, 1934, Pan Am’s founder, Juan T. Trippe in a New York City speech stated:

‘By each successive step, aviation is advancing to that potential ideal of a universal service for humanity.  By overcoming artificial barriers, aviation can weave together, in closer understanding, the nations of the world, and lift for the peoples of the world those horizons which have too long limited the prospective of those who live upon this earth.’

“These words are fulfilled in this book, an anthology of stories written by the people of Pan Am.  They were there at the important and news-making events that shaped the airline’s life.  Many of these events made headlines around the world, such as the carnage at Tenerife or the Lockerbie bombing.   And, with the recent fall of Muammar Ghaddafi, the name Pan American is still commanding space in news publications today.  Other events, among so many, might have just been a small item in the local newspaper or were never reported at all. 

“There were those employees who went beyond the call of duty; others were simply doing their job and in some cases there was loss of life of their dear friends.   The bottom line, big or small, heroic or otherwise, is that the events were important to the airline and its people.  This is the story we have to tell: The historic achievements of Pan Am as experienced and lived by its greatest resource – its people.”

Among the 71 essays are recollections of the inaugural flights of the Boeing 707 and 747, the flight that brought the Beatles to the United States for their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and flights carrying dignitaries such as Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa.  Other stories recall Pan Am’s involvement in the rescue of orphans during the Viet Nam War and the final closing of its Saigon Station.  There are personal recollections of hijackings, Presidential Press charters, the sale of Pan Am’s Pacific routes and the merger with National Airlines.  Finally is the narrative by the pilot who was captain on Pan Am’s last revenue flight on December 4, 1991.

These stories and much more are included in this book and any student or fan of aviation will find a treasure trove of history and memories.

Below are some comments:

From Readers,

“This is a superb collection of very short tales by a wide range of former employees ranging from flight crew to “ground pounders.” Taken together they provide an accurate, intimate view of what made this airline great.”

“Pan Am – nostalgia – memories – incredible stories. A must read if you enjoy air travel and get to wondering just what kind of lives did – and do – airline personnel live.”

“A nice compiling of stories by former Pan Am employees.  Well worth the read for any fan of Pan Am or airlines in general. Pan Am was the pioneer and the stories in the book prove it!”

From Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group,

“Fathered by the legendary Juan Trippe, Pan American was the leader in international aviation exploration and development. A relentless risk-taker, Trippe was an innovator and ultimate entrepreneur……………and this book captures many of Pan Am’s most memorable events from personal accounts of the employees who were there.”

This book is available for purchase directly from the publisher:

http://bluewaterpress.com/Catalog/book_pan_am2.html

More information about Pan American World Airways History can be found on the website of the Pan Am Historical Foundation.

http://panam.org/

My Egypt Adventure and Transit of the Suez Canal – Part Four: The Suez Canal

Part Four:  The Suez Canal

Our transit of the Suez Canal began at 0100 hours (1:00 a.m.).  By daybreak, the convoy was well underway and I had the opportunity to see the sights on both sides of the canal.

From my newsletter of November 1990:

“After Cairo I got an opportunity to transit the Suez Canal on a merchant ship.  This was a fascinating experience primarily because of the importance of the role of the Suez Canal in world commerce and its role in history.  It is the only fast way to get between Europe and the Middle East/Far East by sea.  On one side is the Sinai Desert and the other side is developed land, much of which is used by the Egyptian military.  During the transit I saw many remnants of the Egypt-Israel wars, including blown up and abandoned buildings, abandoned airbases and abandoned vehicles. 

“Ships transiting the canal are formed into convoys and are guided and controlled by the Egyptians from the time they arrive in Port Said (the Mediterranean entrance to the canal also known as “Port Marlboro”) to the time they are released at Port Suez (at the top of the Gulf of Suez).  These people include immigration, health, customs and canal officials, vendors, agents and their assistants, electricians (for the canal floodlight) and mooring laborers (the “boatmen”).  They can hold up or expedite a canal transit at will.  Additionally, when the ship is moored in Port Said awaiting transit, “bumboats” containing vendors selling souvenirs surround the ship, trying to get on board.

“For the ship’s master, the object is to get through the canal as quickly as possible.  And, one of the best means of getting expeditiously through the transit is to prevent the occurrence of any reason to delay the transit.  This is accomplished by giving the canal officials and others a “present”, which is usually a carton of Marlboro cigarettes (in the red box).  The giving of “presents” is usually preceded by someone saying, “Do you have my present, Captain?” There is a saying among those who have transited the canal:  “Give ’em a carton of Marlboros and things move fast”. Otherwise a document may be lost, or something could be “discovered” wrong with the ship that could slow down the transit.

“On the ship I was on, the Suez Canal Authority suggested that the ship’s trim was not in line with canal standards.  The problem was resolved when the master passed out the cartons of Marlboros (the Egyptians want only Marlboros, reds, in the box; anything else, especially Kools, would make them unhappy).  On my ship, the master gave out a total of about thirty cartons, which is about average.  Why all the cigarettes?  Cigarettes, especially Marlboros, are like currency.  And incomes of some of these people (especially laborers and vendors) are so low that selling cigarettes to Marlboro-hungry Egyptians is a lucrative source of income.  (While in Cairo, it seemed everyone who was smoking was smoking Marlboros (reds, in the box).)  Just before we got underway, a crewman on the pilot boat bringing the Suez pilot was yelling at our ship, “Captain, Captain, seegarets pleeze, seegarets for food!”

Besides cigarettes the Egyptians usually manage to get American-made toiletries and similar goods from the masters of the ships transiting the canal.  In addition, interestingly enough, the canal pilot can also get a special “present” of a bottle of liquor, usually top end.  Ships that regularly transit the canal have a bonded storage containing these goods.  It is also interesting to note that the cigarettes given out are marked “For shipboard use only” on the box.

The canal is only wide enough for one-way traffic.  At Great Bitter Lake, about two-thirds the way down, both the southbound and northbound convoys rendezvous.  Once the southbound convoy has exited the canal, the northbound proceeds on to Port Said. The southbound convoy proceeds to, and ends at, Port Suez, where the Egyptian pilot and the boatmen disembark the ship. The ships in the convoy then break up, heading into the Gulf of Suez and eventually the Red Sea.

Below:  Views from the bridge of the Ashley Lykes.

Suez-10-eb     Suez-5-eb

Below:  Sinai (east) side of the canal.  “Road to Nowhere” in left picture; military facility in the right.  Note the Mosque, lower left corner.

Suez-6-eb     Suez-8-eb

Below:  West side of the canal.  Left picture shows crater created by a blast.  Note the unfinished structures in the right picture.

Suez-11     Suez-4

Below:  Contrast the east side (left) and west side (right) of the canal.  Note the Mosque in left picture.

Suez-3     Suez-2

Below:  Goods on display for sale brought on board by the boatmen (left).  On the right, the Suez pilot.

Suez-boatmen goods     Suez-pilot

Below:  Ships at anchor awaiting the southbound convoy in Great Bitter Lake (left).  At right, a Mosque in Port Suez.

Great Bitter Lake anchorage-2     Port Suez-5

Below:  The convoy breaking up as it enters the Gulf of Suez (left).  At right is a map of the canal.

Port Suez-2     Suez_canal_map

From my newsletter:

“A few more observations about life in Egypt:  Traffic is not regulated as in the States.  Signals are only advisory.  During rush hour (which seems to be all day), traffic police try to control the cars, with mild success – sometimes the cars obey.  Additionally, it is not unusual to see mule drawn carts in the middle of city streets.

“I also got the impression that drivers, when given driving lessons, were taught first on the use of the horn, and how to get the most out of it.  Horns were heard at all hours, even when there was no need for them.  The message given by a horn is “get out of the way”.  And when someone does not get out of the way an accident results.  And when an accident occurs, it is not resolved in the usual way by exchanging insurance company names.  Not in Egypt.  First fault has to be determined.  And this is accomplished by shouting matches between the two parties involved.  But it is not only two people shouting to each other.  The shouting is so loud, a crowd gathers, picks sides, and joins the debate.  I actually witnessed this in an accident between a bus and a taxicab.  To their credit, the passengers did not get involved, just the drivers and the onlookers.” 

I found visiting Cairo and transiting the Suez Canal a fascinating and most memorable experience; something to be remembered for a long time.  I do not think much has changed vis-a-vis the Suez Canal transit based on recent Google searches.  However, I did observe, and this is back in 1990, that Egypt’s history was pivotal in the development of the world’s civilizations.  The country is rich in resources and tradition, and should be a great place to visit.  However, things need to be fixed, and while not commenting on the current political situation, I do hope it is resolved soon, so that Egypt can eventually become economically and politically healthy and people can visit and enjoy what Egypt has to offer.

End of Part Four

End of my Egypt Adventure

My Egypt Adventure and Transit of the Suez Canal – Part Three: Port Said

Part Three:  Port Said

Part Three of my Egypt Adventure began on the third day when I left Cairo for Port Said and my transit of the Suez Canal aboard the Ashley Lykes.  I was picked up by two representatives from the ship’s Port Said agents whose sole purpose was to get me to Port Said, processed through immigration and on board the ship.  The trip took me through the Egyptian countryside, passing through several towns and villages.  We made a couple of stops where one of the agents delivered packages of what appeared to contain American-made toiletries and similar goods, and cartons of cigarettes to various shops.  When we finally arrived in Port Said, I was ushered to the offices of the shipping agent, where I was to remain for about four hours until I was to be taken to the ship.

Below are photos of one of the roads en-route to  Port Said, a town where we stopped with the goods and scenes of downtown Port Said:

Road to Port Said-1     Village nr ps-1

Port Said-6     Port Said-2

Below is a picture of the entrance to the office of the shipping agency of my ship (left) and a picture of my handlers (right).

Port Said-4     Port Said-12

Below:  Port Said’s waterfront (left) and the Suez Canal Authority headquarters (right).

Port Said-7     Port Said-8

After leaving the agent’s office, we went directly to Egyptian immigration to process me out of the country.  When we arrived there was a huge line in the waiting hall but somehow we bi-passed that and went to the office of one of the more senior immigration officials.  He dutifully studied my passport, gave it the appropriate stamps and cleared me to depart.  As we left, the agent shook hands with the immigration official and I noticed that part of the handshake included a wad of cash.  The cash was what is known as “baksheesh”.

After boarding a launch, we proceeded to the ship, going through a maze of anchored ships of various sizes and shapes, including a Greek frigate, a Cypriot cruise ship, a multitude of tankers and other cargo ships.

Below:  The Greek frigate Elli and Cypriot cruise ship Princesa Marissa at anchor off Port Said’s waterfront.

Greek warship Elli     Princesa Marissa

Below:  A tanker at anchor and a local harbor ferry.

Suez-9-eb     Port Said-15

Below:  S.S. Ashley Lykes at anchor.  Note the bumboats lingering by the gangway.  The master raised the gangway to keep vendors from boarding his ship.

Suez-3-eb     Suez-Ashley Lykes-1

Once on board the Ashley Lykes, I was greeted by the master who escorted me to his cabin where he added my name to the crew roster as an engineering officer(!).  He told me that the immigration people might be coming on board before departure and therefore I had to be accounted for.  He put the crew roster on a table in the reception area of his cabin and placed on top of it a carton of Marlboro cigarettes, “to keep them happy”, he said.

The next day, at 0100 hours, we got underway for our transit of the Suez Canal.  In Part Four, my trip down the Suez Canal. Watch this Space!

End of Part Three

My Egypt Adventure and Transit of the Suez Canal – Part Two: The Grand Tour and the Pyramids

Part Two:  The Grand Tour and the Pyramids

Part Two of my Egypt Adventure was the Grand Tour.  I was met at the hotel by the tour director and a guide.  They escorted me to what I expected to be a bus full of tourists.  To my surprise the “bus” was an old Volkswagen van with a driver.  I asked about the other tourists and was told I was the only one!  The tour director outlined the itinerary, which included the Egyptian Museum, the Giza Pyramids and the Zaqqara Pyramids.  In addition, I was told, the tour included a visit to a cartouche shop (classic Egyptian jewelry), a papyrus shop (paper used for scrolls) and a carpet weaver.  After the briefing we were off.  The first stop was the Egyptian Museum where I was guided through the main exhibits.  I was impressed with the tour guide’s knowledge of the museum.

Below are some photos I took at the museum:

Cairo Museum-7     Cairo Museum-2

Cairo Museum-3     Cairo Museum-6

After the museum, we went to the first of the shops, this being the cartouche shop.  The shop itself was nothing spectacular.  In fact, it appeared that the shop owner and the tour director were old friends and that I was meant to actually purchase a cartouche.  After I decided it was worth purchasing, I bought one.  Our next stop was the papyrus shop.  When we arrived and I saw that the tour director was also very friendly with the shop owner, I figured out the scheme.  I did purchase a papyrus scroll, as I thought it would also be a worthy souvenir.  On retrospect, I could have purchased these items anywhere.   But the way the tour was organized, it would have been very difficult to refuse purchasing these items at these particular shops.

After that, we went to the Giza Pyramids.   From my newsletter:

“One of the great contrasts [of Egypt] is the fertile land of the Nile Valley abutting the arid desert of North Africa.  The contrast is so stark it looks as if someone had drawn a line parallel to the Nile defining where fertility ends and desert begins.  It is well illustrated at the Pyramids, which, to my surprise were located right on that line, in Giza, just outside Cairo.  On one side of the Giza Pyramids is urban greater Cairo and the other side endless desert.  I always thought the Pyramids were located in the middle of desert (based on pictures I had seen).  Was I surprised to see that they could be in someone’s back yard.  The Pyramids, however, were impressive, and I was awed at such an engineering marvel that is more than 5000 years old.”

Below are some photos I took at the Giza Pyramids:

Pyramids-Giza-1     Cairo-1-eb

Pyramids-Giza-6     Pyramids-Giza-4

During the visit to the Giza Pyramids, I was offered a camel ride for $100.  I elected to decline the invitation.  (I had heard stories of people taking a camel ride only to find themselves in the middle of the desert with the guide demanding a “present” to bring them back to civilization.)  From Giza we proceeded to the Zaqqara Pyramids, famous for the Pyramid of Djoser or the “step” pyramid.  Zaqqara was about 30 km from Cairo and the road was full of contrasts, as illustrated below:

Road-3  Road-2

Road-1

During the trip, I asked for a stop so that I could photograph some scenery.

While stopped, the mule-drawn cart (see picture above left) passed us and part of the cart hit the van.  What ensued was something I did not expect:  an argument between the cart driver and our driver as to who was at fault.  This almost came to blows as now the tour guide joined in.  The tour director came to me to assure me that things were OK and that they could tend to themselves.  The thought of being stuck in the middle of nowhere and not knowing where I was made me a bit uncomfortable but fortunately the matter was resolved and we continued on.

After touring the Zaqqara Pyramids, the guide came to advise me that on the way back to Cairo he would be dropped off at his home and that he would really be happy if I gave him his “present” privately for being my tour guide.   The present was a $20 bill.

The below photos are (1) the picture I took that precipitated the encounter between the mule cart and the tour driver, and (2) the “step” pyramid.

Cairo-2-eb      Pyramids-Saqqara-1

After we dropped off the tour guide, now $20 richer, I was asked about seeing the carpet weaver.  My answer was an emphatic “no!”   I was certain that I would be prevailed upon to add a carpet to the already excessive number of souvenirs already in my possession.  After being dropped off at the hotel, I gave my tour director and the driver their “presents” and retired to the hotel bar for a well-deserved drink.

This marked the end of Part Two of my Egypt Adventure.  Part Three begins with my trip to Port Said, the entry port for the Suez Canal.  Watch this space!

End of Part Two

My Egypt Adventure and Transit of the Suez Canal – Part One: Cairo

Part One:  Cairo

With Egypt being the news recently, I started recalling my experience there in November, 1990.  At the time, I was serving as Officer-in-Charge of a Naval Liaison Officer Detachment based in Bahrain in support of Operation Desert Shield.  The detachment briefed masters of merchant ships transiting through the Persian Gulf to Saudi Arabian ports with military cargo. These ships were part of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command that provides strategic sealift in support of military operations.  The ships were activated from a reserve force of cargo vessels or were under contract from civilian shipping companies.  As most of these ships originated in the United States, the transit to Saudi Arabia included passage through the Suez Canal.

During a lull in operations in late November, 1990, I managed to take some time to experience the Suez Canal transit.  I had heard so many stories about the transit from ships’ masters that I felt it useful to see for myself what it was all about.  I arranged transit aboard the S.S. Ashley Lykes, a C-Class break bulk cargo ship operated by Lykes Lines bound for Saudi Arabia from the US.

Suez-Ashley Lykes-1

S.S. Ashley Lykes

And so began my Egypt Adventure.

The plan was to fly to Cairo, meet the ship in Port Said, a port on the Mediterranean Sea that serves as the northern entry point to the Suez Canal, and ride the ship through the canal, the Gulf of Suez, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to its destination port in Saudi Arabia.  On the scheduled date, I left Bahrain on Gulf Air for Dhahran, Saudi Arabia on the first leg of my trip.

Below is a description of my flight to Cairo taken from a monthly newsletter I wrote during Operation Desert Shield:       

“I left Bahrain on a Gulf Air flight to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where I transferred to Egyptair to Cairo.  The flight to Dhahran was ten minutes at an altitude of 2500 feet.  No drinks on this flight – the flight attendants did not even get up from their jump seats.  Upon arrival in Dhahran I learned about changing planes in Saudi Arabia.  It is not like the States.

“I was met by an airport representative who seemed to know all about my itinerary who took me to (where else) the Immigration Hall.  At the time it was Prayer Time, and the “Call to Prayer” was being broadcast over the loudspeakers for the benefit of those waiting in the immigration lines.  Since I was not entering the country I bypassed that line but did have to wait for an immigration officer to inspect my passport and make a copy of every page.  

“After my passport was duly photocopied I had to clear customs, where the customs inspector searched for articles forbidden in Saudi Arabia, such as alcoholic beverages, non-Muslim religious materials, certain types of books, magazines and videotapes, etc.  From there I was escorted to the departure lounge, where the airport representative checked me in [for my next flight].  Finally, I was on my own.” 

The flight was uneventful and we arrived in Cairo on schedule.   While waiting in the immigration line at Cairo Airport, I was approached by a young woman in what appeared to be a uniform who inquired about the reason for my visit, which I said was business.  She asked if I would have time for sightseeing and I replied yes.  She said her company would like to give me information about sights to see and offered to escort me through immigration, which meant I went straight to the head of the line and through, after which I was escorted to an office that appeared to be that of a company providing tours to visitors.  I got the full briefing about what to see in Cairo.  Thinking that was it, I was surprised (really should not have been, though) when I was informed that the company was to be my tour guide for my stay in Cairo.   Dumbfounded, I said fine, and was given various options.  I elected the cheapest, a group tour of the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids.  As I had two full days to myself, I opted for the second day to do the tour, which I shall call the “Grand Tour”.  I was asked to pay in advance – US Dollars were gratefully accepted – and a pickup time was set.

By the time I checked into my hotel, the Semiramis Intercontinental, I was ready for a drink, which I partook in the hotel lounge.

Cairo-Semiramis

Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel

Below:  Views from my hotel room of the Nile River.  The Cairo Tower is on the far right in the picture on the left.  Note the air pollution in the picture on the right.

Cairo - View from Semiramis       Cairo-Skyline-Nile-4

The next day I set off on a long walk around the city and its surrounding neighborhoods.  Again, from my newsletter:

“Cairo is a huge city, population about 14,000,000.  I stayed at the Semiramis Hotel, which was right on the Nile River.  The city appears to be on the verge of either greatness or a downfall.  From a distance the skyline looks impressive:  lots of large commercial buildings along the Nile.  However many are not totally occupied; in fact some are not even fully constructed (sic).  There must be an unwritten regulation in Egypt:  “Thou shalt not finish construction of a building”.  There are buildings on which construction had been halted in order to start construction on new buildings adjacent to them.  This scene was not only in Cairo, but also in other areas of Egypt as well.

Below:  Additional views of Cairo and the Nile.

Cairo-Skyline-Nile-2    Cairo-Skyline-Nile

          Cairo-Nile-1     Cairo-Downtown-3  

“Egypt is full of contrasts:  Modern high-rises (albeit some incomplete) abutting shantytowns of rundown shops (many of which for some reason, were selling automobile parts, especially wheels and tires).”

Below:  A couple of neighborhoods just outside Cairo.  Note the tire shop in the left picture.

Neigborhood-1       Neighborhood-3

The walk around Cairo took nearly all day.  I am glad I took that walk because it allowed me to see sides of Cairo that the normal tourist would not see.  There seemed to be people and cars everywhere and the air pollution was most noticeable.  But the sights that struck me most was the seemingly unfinished state of the city.  It looked as if whatever prosperity existed was pulled out from under.  I estimated that it would take an economic miracle for enough money to be generated to actually finish those unfinished buildings sitting abandoned and in some cases falling into disrepair.

In Part Two:  The Grand Tour and the Pyramids.  Watch this Space!

End of Part One