It has been a little more than two months since I moved to Cairo, Egypt. I am still not sure what to think of the place, but there are some clear things I love and some clear things I hate. I made a little top three of both:
Three things I love in Egypt
There are quite some frustrations in daily life here, but perhaps it’s the kinder people I have met so far that make it easier to live in. Some lovely people from work and other lovely people from animal welfare organisations and related activities. It’s all the kind hearts that make a difference. (With ‘people’, I would also like to include my newest family member Bailey, my mutt puppy from Dahab. She definitely makes all the difference when I come home from a tiring day!)
Having otlob.com as a regular food-ordering website gives you all kinds of choices for lunch and delivered right to your door. Egyptian food has many vegetarian options and there are all kinds of restaurants in town – you can find anything. Especially in my area of Maadi, all kinds of food (including Nola’s cupcakes) are widely available.
For just 1 Egyptian Pound (0.15 USD/0.12 EUR), you can ride the metro between any two stops on the metro lines. Plus, there are specially designated carriages for women and children. Great! It runs regularly and it seems quite safe from the few times I have used it. The price beats any other form of transport for sure!
Three things I hate in Egypt
- Abuse and harassment
Abuse within the family, abuse on the street, abuse directed to children as well as abuse directed to animals (both pets and strays). Verbal, physical, neglect, harassment, exploitation… Like in many countries I lived before, abuse happens everywhere – most of it stems from ignorance. But it never starts becoming ‘normal’ or ‘accepted’ in my eyes. Harassment happens on a large scale and some people have even started this website aiming to tackle and raise awareness on the issue: HarassMap.org.
In the case of animals, I have seen them suffer from neglect in many places I lived before. However, seeing them being tortured deliberately is new and it pains me and makes me angry. This is unacceptable.
People are impatient. In traffic, you constantly hear people honking. Honking could mean ‘get out of the way’, ‘watch out, I’m coming’, ‘hello’, ‘look at us!’, ‘you need a taxi?’, etc. In front of shop cashiers, people try to cut the queue when they can. Thank goodness for ticket number systems in some places. Once, I looked at the cashier in surprise when this lady on my left tried to cut in front and the cashier let me go first. By the time I was finishing up, a lady on my right was trying to cut in front of the lady on the left… People!
Yes, there is dirt and garbage everywhere. People don’t think twice about littering – even from their own homes (since I have a ground floor place with a garden, their littering has made it to my garden and I had to put up a sign at the front door to ask people not to throw their trash out of their windows – and these are supposedly civilised adults!). While walking the streets, there is garbage everywhere. While driving on the ringroad, there are massive piles of garbage (and stray dogs, cats and birds trying to pick what they can) on the sides of the road. There needs to be a better system for this – through the government as well as through individuals.
There’s more to explore, so I am sure there will be more to come. Other things I love about Egypt are going horse riding in this beautiful area filled with palm trees or in the desert. Other things I hate about Egypt are the continuous political developments, debates and demonstrations – as long as it’s leading to progress, but that’s the question.
Another update will follow, sooner or later…