Posts Tagged With: New Cairo

Adventures in Egyptian Ikea

If you’re going to go to Ikea, pick a time when it’s not busy. In Egypt (and most of the Middle East, I assume), that time is Friday mid-morning, before prayer. Friday is the holy day here, and is celebrated by Christians and Muslims alike. Most people sleep in leaving the streets bare and ghost town quiet. It’s a good time to go shopping at major stores and malls like Carrefour or Cairo Festival City (CFC), but don’t expect the corner shop to be open.

Therefore, at 11 am on Friday, I took a taxi with some new co-workers to Cairo Festival City to go shopping. As with the last time we came to CFC, it took the driver five minutes to figure out how to enter to the mall parking lot. There is plenty of parking, but most of it is blocked off, and no one really knows why. The cab driver finally determined that taking us directly to the door of Ikea was not an option, so he dropped us at the nearest entrance and we wandered through the mall to get there.

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Categories: Egypt, Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Welcome Back!

Ah, it’s nice to be back in Cairo. The longer I was away, the harder it was to come back. I had a great summer (England, Glastonbury Festival, Buffalo, Seattle) and I didn’t want it to end. Now that I’m back in Egypt I remember all the things I love about it here. The people, the culture, the sense of adventure…

That’s not to say that Egypt isn’t without its trials. In fact, I encountered a trial just yesterday:

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Categories: Egypt, Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Winter Weather in Cairo

It’s 55 degrees Fahrenheit and I’m cold. For someone that survived two winters in Mongolia, one of them a zud, this is absolutely ridiculous. But there’s nothing I can do to change how I feel, and I feel cold.

My Peace Corps Medical Officer (PCMO) once said “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing,” and I did not bring the right clothing for this ‘winter’ weather. I remember when I was packing in my mother’s house, clothing strewn all over the floor and bed, saying “Everything I own is black! I’m moving to the desert in August! What am I going to do?” Before I left Beijing I gave away a lot of clothes I had accumulated: turtlenecks, long sweater-dresses, ear muffs, and other woolen items. I sure wish I had some of those warmer clothes now. Luckily, my mother is coming to visit me in less than two weeks and she’s bringing me some of the warmer things I left behind in the States.

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Depending on the Kindness of Cairene Strangers

I have lived in temperate climates before, but it still feels very strange to listen to Christmas music while wearing shorts. On average it’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s already December. It’s actually colder inside my apartment than outside because of the thick walls meant to keep out the summer heat. But despite the weather December it is, and I found myself going to a Christmas party with friends on a balmy Thursday night.

The Community Service Association in Maadi is a lovely place with a gym, coffee shop, and shop that sells local artists’ crafts and artwork. Their red-and-white themed Christmas Party was to be held outside with a buffet, door prize, and a raffle. My coworkers and I were dressed and ready to go at 6 PM, we just needed two taxis for the seven of us.

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Street Scenes

My area of New Cairo is quite famous. It turns out that former president Morsi lived 8 villas down from my current apartment. He also attended the mosque that is across the street from the school residence where I live. This makes home easy to find – taxi drivers are familiar with the area. It also makes the mosque a busy place, especially on Fridays.

Our normally empty street is flooded with cars on Fridays.

Our normally empty street is flooded with cars on Fridays.

Last Friday my coworker Kelly F and I were hoping to get some back-to-school shopping done and made the mistake of trying to hail a cab at noon on a Friday. We stood in the hot sun for more than half an hour before deciding to walk down the block to try our luck somewhere else. On our way we encountered some funny signs stuck to cars:

The sign on the car window reads: "Stop Following Me Your Sister Not With Me"

The sign on the car window reads: “Stop Following Me Your Sister Not With Me”

This bumper sticker reads: "Breast Inspection 20 Feet Ahead. (Please Have 'Em Out)

This bumper sticker reads: “Breast Inspection 20 Feet Ahead. (Please Have ‘Em Out)

 

Categories: Egypt, Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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