Inside the Middle East
May 22, 2012
Posted: 1115 GMT

As Egyptians prepare to head to polling stations later this week for the nation’s first presidential election since the 2011 ouster of former ruler Hosni Mubarak, voters in Cairo will likely face an all-too-common obstacle in their path:


Chaotic, loud, incessant, and sometimes even horrifying traffic.

In a sprawling metropolis of more than 20 million residents, where an estimated 2.5 million cars share narrow streets with trash-wielding donkey carts and rickety, three-wheeled tuk-tuks, idling in the endless traffic jams can easily whittle hours off each day.  And there is no such thing as rush hour in the Arab's world largest capital – every hour is rush hour in Cairo.

Our team got an up-close look at #CairoTraffic (yes, Cairo's gridlock claims its own hashtag on Twitter) during a recent trip to Egypt to film our 100th episode.  Taking a short drive across town – sometimes just 10 to 15 kilometers – frequently took us several mind-numbing hours.  With little else to do in the car, we snapped a few pics of the daily jams – take a look at them here on our Facebook account.

READ MORE: Inside the Middle East in Cairo for our 100th show

Egypt’s recent uprising did not help matters on the roads, according to government officials.

In late January 2011, two weeks before the departure of Mubarak, most police vanished from their posts. Traffic police have since returned to the streets of Cairo – but not every street.

“Things have got worse since the recent revolution, because motorists can now get away with traffic violations without being punished,“ Amer Gamgoum, head of Cairo traffic enforcement, told the state-run Egyptian Gazette last May.

It's hard to imagine things could actually be getting worse.  Take a look at this 2010 video from CNN’s Egypt correspondent, Ben Wedeman, who is certainly no stranger to the perils of crossing the road in Cairo.

Will Egypt's future president be able fix congestion in the capital?

The candidates were offered some last-minute campaign advice from at least one Twitter-user, in this follow-up to a tweet from Wedeman on Tuesday:

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Filed under: Egypt

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Zoglet   May 24th, 2012 11:00 pm ET

NOTHING can fix the traffic in Ciaro. It has to be experienced to be be beleived!

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Welcome to the Inside the Middle East blog where CNN's journalists post news, views and video from across the region. This is also a place where you can start the discussion so please keep your comments coming. We highlight not only current news stories but also anecdotes and issues that don't always make the top of the headlines.

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