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The other side of Egypt


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Turn right, left, go straight…Lagos style of directing strangers in Alexandria
I thought only Lagosians had the knack of confusing strangers seeking direction. But I was proved wrong yesterday here in Alexandria.

On arrival in Egypt for the on-going Afcon, I purchased a new sim card from one of the telecommunications outfits here, Orange. It had been useful to me in the discharge of my duties until yesterday morning when everything went blank. I couldn’t make calls, receive messages or browse on the Internet. I was worried, particularly when the Sports desk was expecting stories for Friday’s production.

I had to hit the road in search of an Orange office nearby. It turned out to be a marathon search, as every Egyptian I approached for direction played one ‘Lagos style’ or the other.


First, it was a young man in his early 30s. As soon as I mentioned Orange mobile office, he pointed his hand saying: “Go straight, turn to your right, and after two streets, turn right and Orange mobile shop is there.”

I was accompanied by a colleague, Olusesan Ajibade of New Telegraph Newspapers, who was equally affected by the poor service delivery by the telecommunications company. We followed the direction, and behold there was no Orange mobile shop in sight.

I approached another man, and this time, his direction appeared simpler.

Just look at my hand, go straight, do not turn until you get to a cinema hall to your left. There is a house painted in Orange colour, go inside for your transaction. We followed as he directed, but no Orange mobile shop around. Three other men misdirected us the same way, and in one of their mischievous attitudes, we landed in a cafe where people drink and smoke cigarette.

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