Friday, August 19, 2005


I waited for the guide and driver to take me to Alexandra to show up at the hotel for over an hour yesterday. The guide has given me a lecture about how expensive it was for him to rent a car, and for people not to show up. (Later on I got a phone message to say that he had been in an accident). So I decided to get the train to Alexandra instead. The hotel is very close to the main railway station so this was easy. I bourght my ticket from a window. A policeman then checked the ticket to make sure I was not going anywhere dangerous. Then of course he helpfully told me the wrong platform number for the train. I always thought that the Arabs had invented 0, but I didn't realise they had their own symbols for numbers. By some miracle, I got to the correct platform. A porter put me in the correct carrage. The train took 2 and 1/2 hours. A the end of the line, I didn't see Alexandra written anywhere, but everyone else got off the train so I did too. I was epecting a bigger station with perhaps, some tourist information. THe curse of the lack-of-rough-guide had struck again, because I had no idea what I should be visiting. There were helpful taxi drivers sround, but experience has told me that I needed to have some idea of where I wanted to go. Eventually, I found a big map. I told a taxi driver, to take me to the Alexandra library, partly because of my deep love of literature, but mostly because it was near the sea. This library is a modern version of the ancient library that was burnt down by a christian mob around 600 AD. It is a very cool modern building. After the late start and longer journey I only has about 3 hours in Alexandra. So I just walked up by the cost. Needless to say there was a manic 6 lane road right at the sea front. I stopped off at a cafe for some cofee before getting a taxi back to the railway station. I could have a drunk a beer at the cafe as well, but the extrimists do occasionally sttack places where this goes on. I felt it better to drink some portest beers back in my hotel, where there are three armed policemen outside. There are no metal shields though. I bet the 4* Hilton has lead shielding for gun battles. So that was my trip to Alexndra. It was my dream to visit Alexandra, after reading the Alexandra quartet. As I didn't get to see any cool ancient stuff, perhaps I have been cheated. As I can't rememeber what I liked about the books anyway, I don't see how I can complain. Tourism after all is about ticking the box for some experience or another