So, I got into a bit of a gnarly situation, trying to do some reporting...
The big news last night was that protesters had broken into (and later supposedly tried to burn down) the headquarters of Ahmed Shafiq, one of the two presidential candidates competing in the run-off for the Egyptian elections.
I had kept myself updated on the situation throughout the evening via Twitter, and had briefly attempted to take some photos of a small protest in Tahrir with a friend.
On my way home, I start thinking.
I am supposed to be a reporter and I'm heading to the area where Shafiq's headquarters are said to be, because I live nearby. I've got my camera on me, so I might as well go check it out and see if I can get some good photos.
I decide to call a friend, who also lives in the area and has an adventurous spirit. We agree to meet at the beginning of Doqqi, the neighbourhood I live in and where the headquarters are supposed to be.
Since both of us have only a vague idea of where the office is located we start asking around to people on the street. Nobody really seems to have a clear idea of where it is, until this taxi driver stops and offers to take us there.
He mentions a street nearby so we decide to get in his taxi and let him drive us there. I get in on my side of the car and close the door behind me, expecting my friend to get in on the other side. But before he can, the driver puts the child locks on the door.
He turns around, looks me straight in the eye, and says in Arabic "I voted for Shafiq". Then he hits the gas and speeds off.
I get out my phone and send my friend who got left behind an 'oh crap' SOS text message. "What's going on? What are you doing?", I ask the driver in Arabic. "We're going for a ride", is his somewhat eerie response.
I'm not easily scared, but at this point nightmare scenarios of getting abducted, robbed and God knows what else start going through my head. I start frantically calling anyone I can think of that speaks Arabic, so they can maybe talk some sense into this guy.
It is around 3 am at this point, so unsurprisingly most of my calls go unanswered.
Looking out the window I can tell the taxi is clearly not going to the street we are supposed to be going to. After a few minutes the driver pulls over in a poorly lit street, near a group of men. These are definitely not Shafiq's headquarters.
The taxi driver gets out, grabs me by the arm and drags me out of the car. His grip is too tight for me to get loose. He yells out something I can't understand to the men standing nearby, who all start coming over. I still can't get out of his grip and start screaming from the top of my lungs.
Within seconds I am surrounded by the group of men. There are five of them. They start pushing me around and ask me a bunch of random questions in broken English. "Why don't you like Shafiq? Are you one of Sabahi's people? Are you one of Morsi's people? Are you from Israel? Why do you want to take photos?"
They ask for my ID, which I refuse to give and am not carrying on me anyway. They start leading me into a nearby building, the taxi driver still having a firm grip on my one arm, as I am getting dragged along by this fat guy holding my other arm.
We get to a teeny-tiny lift. The taxi driver and another guy get in and go up, while two others start making their way up the stairs.
It's just me and this young looking guy with a wild afro now, waiting for the lift to come back. "Let me go, I want to go home", I repeatedly tell him in both English and broken Arabic. "I am a Dutch journalist, I have done nothing wrong, I am just here to do my job."
As the elevator comes back down, he grabs me by the chin, turns my face toward him so he can look me in the eye, and says: "I'm going to let you go, but next time, be more careful. Cairo is a dangerous city and these are dangerous times."
The second he lets go of my face I dash out the building. I run as fast as I can for a few minutes until I reach a main street and flag down a taxi to take me home. As it turns out I'm only a few minutes drive away from where I live.
Now, hours later, I realise I just narrowly escaped a situation that could have turned very very bad. I don't think there could have been a safer way to go about it though, aside from not going at all.
On the other hand I am bummed I never made it to the headquarters, and still don't even know for sure where they are.