I am not sure I will speak for every foreigner on this regard. I was told there is at least forty something Zimbabweans in Cairo. The first time I saw a Zimbabwean was after a month’s stay in Maadi here in Cairo. This was at the Maadi Community Church (www.maadichurch.net), which is a non denominational church that caters for all Christians, foreign or even from Egypt. I saw then whilst surfing the internet as I was looking for something to do especially over the weekends.
Initially had a boring routine of going to work and coming back home to eat and sleep, and this was getting on my nerves. Occasionally Farah and Magdy two of my friends would invite me to their place and WE would make dinner and dine together or we would simply go out and have fun. I wrote “WE” in capital letters o mean that I didn’t have a part in the preparation of the meals, my cooking is terrible, and I took part in the eating….yeahhh. When we went out we would go to music concerts or to a restaurant or café. The concerts would be local or singers from the Middle East …and yes they sang in Arabic. I didn’t understand even a single word they sang but hey, I like the rhythm and the energy that was around me.
There isn’t much beer drinking in Egypt and to me that’s not a cause of concern since I neither drink nor smoke. But hey…boy!! Egyptians smoke a lot. They smoke cigarettes and this funny looking thing called Shisha. Its smoking, but the difference is you choose a flavor that you want, from roses, peaches, pine apple, all the flavors. I tried it once and I guess the coughing afterwards was an indication that it wasn’t right for me. In summer the sun sets at around 8pm and that is the time when most people starts getting out including children. They either go to social/sporting clubs to meet with friends and play sports. As for me I go to Katameya where we play soccer with my Zimbabwean friends, and mind you the time would be around 9pm and we finish at around 11pm. I start work at 9am and I would think 5 hours is enough for me to sleep and rest. By the way I am not the best of players in the world but l can at least run and kick the ball.
There is a saying which goes something like, people don’t sleep in Cairo. Its true, one day I went to this very BIG mall called Karfor and when we were eating after two hours of window shopping with, Edzai one of my friends, we saw these children as little as 12months still quite awake and with no indication that they would fall asleep anytime soon, and the time was like 01am in the morning. Cairo is by far the safeties place I have been in my life. It is very rare to here that someone was robbed or there was a theft, if it is happening it might be at a low scale. The only ripping off that I know is at most tourist areas like the Pyramids in Giza, where I was ripped off. I won’t go into the details of that incident…maybe some other day.
The transport system is fair in Cairo as there are private taxis, micro buses and the famous Metro trains. It’s cheaper to move around with the metro as it can cost you (Egyptian Pound) LE1 Egyptian pound to go from Maadi to Giza (Pyramids area) than to go with a Taxi which would cost you about LE25. Most of the taxi drivers are not able to use English and this can be a problem for visitors and if he knows you are a foreigner he will charge you double the price especially if you do not know the price. Apart from the ripping off by the taxi drivers I have found Egyptians to be very friendly and a complete opposite of what I expected. I thought I was coming to a place with Islamic extremist and there would be bombings and all the madness you see on the news. I guess sometimes the news media houses do it for the money and they portray issues that they think people want to hear and thereby increasing the sales of their papers.
The food here in fantastic, I like Kushari a lot, there is everything in Kushari, from rice, spaghetti, spices, noodles, meat….. I tell to everything!!! I also liked Molokai and their bread which is flat; it looks like flat pieces of circular paper. Apart from visiting the Pyramids and the Egyptian museum, where the mummy of King Tutankhamen is, you can go to Alexandria at the beach, Luxor, Aswan, visit the Red Sea, there are a lot of places to visit and see. Do you know that there are still discoveries being done here in Egypt? YES, it true.
I am still getting used to the social life here because some times I get lonely and miss home and my lovely girlfriend and family home. There are times when I wish I was close to them.