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24 July 2008

the long road home

the drive home from site is about an hour long. not awful, but it will get relatively worse once we start working 12+ hours a day (i'm working 12 today). once we come off the main ring road in maadi, that's when you see how poor the city planner was. i've highlighted my route from the ring road to my house in these two pictures. why can't we just turn left sometimes, but the planner decided that one way bridges and limited overpasses would be a REALLY GOOD IDEA. from getting off ring road to my house takes about 15 minutes. i estimate that if the roads were designed as they are now but with appropriately placed overpasses and exits, that trip would be more like 5 minutes. now that doesn't sound like a lot, only saving 10 minutes, but that's an hour over a week. over a year, that's more than two days i could save to spent on fun things like getting lost in maadi on my bike.

like last night, i ventured out to find "volume 1", a bookstore that i'd heard about from a german i ended up talking to at a local bar. he had an english-arabic grammar book, written entirely in english phonetics, that he suggested. i looked at google earth and mapped my route. going there was cake, no problem. it's a route that kinda filters down to where you can only go one of a few places in that direction. coming back on the other hand... jeez. give me a map, and i'm golden, i can cross-reference, no problems. i memorized the route there, but coming back, like i said, i'm going against the filtered way so from point 'B', going toward home, the roads fan out almost infinitely. if you don't see where this is going, i got horribly lost. all the roads in maadi look the same and there isn't much of a grid, or actually, there are kind of two grids offset by about 30°. so, if you start on the first grid, you can pretty much work your way to where you need to be, but if you turn onto the other grid, then you're fukked, at least, i was. again, the city planner, WTF?! in maadi, there's a section that goes street 13, 14, 15, 201. 201??!! yeah, that doesn't help when you're lost. it's not like street 15 is 70 streets away from my house, nor is street 201 116 streets away. there is no rhyme or reason to how they are named.

i was trapped in the area pictured below (i started at the circle in the middle) for about 30 minutes . maybe you can see my issue. every time i turned, i'd go a block or two before running into street 206 or 213. it was really disheartening like i was stuck in a bad dream. after about 30 minutes trying to do it myself, i caved and asked one of the many army men on the streets where street 85 was. he told me it was way behind me, which, though i didn't know exactly where i was, i KNEW it was somewhere in front of me. then i asked for grand mall which is kinda close to my place. then he pointed in front of me and told me in arabic i didn't understand to take a million-and-five turns to get there. i went that general direction, saw something that looked familiar (though not the mall), thought i was saved, and found myself soon asking another cop for street 85. he knew where it was and in 5 minutes i was home. jules is proud of how i'm venturing out and trying to learn maadi. i found two new restaurants only 3 blocks from our house buried on a quiet suburban street. found another cafe on street 213, but where on street 213, i can't say because, you guessed it, i was lost when i found it. i think i can get back there.

i won't get home until around 8PM tonight, so probably no bike riding tonight, but tomorrow, i think i'll print out a small map of maadi, grab my GPS and ride. see what i find, and then use technology to get home.

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Blogger themom said...

I must say, being fully aware of your "lack of direction" issues...I am very proud of these baby steps you are taking!! LOL

8:23 AM, July 24, 2008  

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