Sitting in an open Land Rover, the New York lawyer in front of me surveys the scene. Thirty feet away, three lions are gorging on a warthog. Jackals and hyenas skulk among nearby trees. Vultures circle overhead. “I didn’t need to come to Africa for this,” he says brusquely. “It’s like a regular day at the office.”
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
At the restaurant, a woman in our group asks to be seated in the no-smoking section. The proprietor points to a chair nailed to the ceiling. Welcome to Cairo, where everything is just a little twisted. When you visit Egypt’s capital and Africa’s largest city, you soon realize that you are not in Kansas anymore — not by a long shot. Cairo is a shrug, a wink, a tongue in the cheek. This city of 16 million gets right up in your face — but always with a benevolent if desert-dry sense of humor.