I've been following the blow up in Egypt closely. Mostly because I was there only 3 weeks ago and as short as my visit was (1 week) I met quite a few Egyptians and spent a lot of time on the very streets that are erupting. So I sort of feel like I have a connection of sorts, bit silly but that's how I feel. Hopefully there's a good result out of all of this.
I asked a few of the Egyptians I met what they thought about their government, because the thing that struck me in Egypt was how there didn't really seem to be a good distribution of wealth. It was grimy, dirty and at times septic. It also had a smell and not the spice smell I had been expecting. It smelt bad (I have to state here that I'm not bitching just explaining, I loved Egypt). This was not a happy country and this was not a country that had a healthy level of living. To a man and a woman each responded to my question with something similar to, "We love Egypt, but our leader is a dictator". Nobody was happy with Mubarak, they complained of corruption at all levels, they complained of poor wages and expensive food and goods. These are the same complaints the press are reporting on these past days, this is what's wrong with Egypt.
A driver we hired from our hotel to drive us around Cairo for the day explained to us that he made 80 Egyptian Pounds a week, that's around 15 Aussie dollars. No wonder he baulked when we offered to buy him a sandwich for lunch which cost 35 Egyptian Pounds. We didn't realise how much he earnt until after we had bought it for him. I felt awful for putting him in that position, eating a sandwich worth almost half his a weeks pay. Don't worry, I tipped him more than he earnt in a week when we parted. So maybe if you didn't before, you now understand why they're rioting in the streets.
I snapped these pics from trains and taxis as we travelled through Egypt, not exactly a utopia is it