My First Day in Cairo - The Details
I arrived in Cairo, Egypt on time at 2 a.m. on Monday, August 3, 2009.
This was after my eight hour layover in Amsterdam. I did get to see a bit of Amsterdam. My friend picked me up from the train station and showed me around. We also had a late lunch and went to an awesome exhibit at a museum.
Only problem was that I locked my camera w/my personal items at the airport and I did not have it w/me while I was in Amsterdam. That happens.
Chaos seems to be the rule of thumb in Cairo. We got off of the plan on the tarmack and a shuttle took us to the terminal. There I saw the gentleman who was assigned to pick us up. He was quite helpful in taking us through the process of obtaining a Visa, getting through Passport Control and then through Customs. All w/no problem ... just a long wait.
Then he gave me an envelope of money. My living stipend is supposed to last me until my first paycheck on October 1st. We'll see. Many things are expensive here. Like cellphones and a television ... yes, I have to have a television. I am a media junkie. I have to see what they watch and what not.
When I arrived at my apartment, it was probably after 3 a.m. One gentleman took me to my apartment and there was another gentleman inside the apartment to show me around.
The apartment is in a hostel. I had heard that before I arrived and I was a bit nervous. Not anymore. I like the apartment, but it is, indeed, also a dorm for students; faculty have several floors in the building. The benefit of being at the hostel:
- laundry facilities on site
- a television lounge and cafeteria in the lobby
- a work out facility
- and the best reason ... Internet access via Ethernet
I am very grateful that my university stocked the fridge w/plenty of water and provided me w/lots of other staples until I can get to the store.
Cairo is dirty. I would like to say as dirty as New York City, but it is worse. There is pollution as well. They drive wildly. There are a few traffic signals, but people do as they like. There are sidewalks, but most folks walk in the street because the sidewalks are likely to end in the most awkward place.
Shopping will not be a problem. I saw an H&W and Aldo Shoes on my ride from the airport. The grocery stores carry many American products both food and personal hygiene. They may cost more, but they are there. My friend assures me that the generic Corn Flakes taste like cardboard, so it may be best to go w/the brand.
There's a McDonald's and a Hardees and a Burger King and so much more that is also in the U.S. I have not tried the food at any of those places yet though. There is a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I believe that tea is more popular here than coffee.
Sailing on the Nile was quite refreshing and relaxing and not very expensive. I am sure that I will take a few hours to go sailing more often.
The food at the Lebanese restaurant that we went to was quite nice. We had a variety of appetizers including Homous. I ordered grilled shrimp for an entree. I did eat a lot and I am happy to say that I did not get sick. Everyone has warned me about getting sick as my body gets used to the bacteria in this area. Keep your fingers crossed.
I could go on and on ... but I will save something for the next blog post. I am doing mostly touristy stuff this week. I shall see the pyramids before the week is out.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog ... soooo appreciated.