Monday, August 03, 2009

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:
  • security
  • laundry facilities on site
  • a television lounge and cafeteria in the lobby
  • a work out facility
  • and the best reason ... Internet access via Ethernet
The 2-bedroom apartment is huge. There are two full bathrooms, a full kitchen, a desk in each bedroom as well as a desk in the living space and a humongous terrace . Very nice as you can see from the pics.

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.

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At 7:30 PM, Blogger sunshinecardsandjewelry said...

Looks like you have been very busy and the people seen to be very nice and helpful. How much will my ticket cost I'm ready to visit.

At 10:01 PM, Blogger Shellshock said...

Wow Kim! Ever the journalist you are! No wonder they hired you! Everything looks great, you look like you're having a ball and the sailing on the Nile...what a treat! Ok, I'm checking flights, I have to visit. What a great video! Love it, continue to enjoy and be safe!

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Lori said...

Yea! You made it! I'm so excited. Don't know why (LOL). Maybe in part, because just reading your post made me feel like I was there. Guess that's one sure sign of a great writer. And yeah, I am talking 'bout you. (-:

Okay, make sure you keep a journal--apart from the blog, I mean. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. I will definitely be checking back. The pyramids?! The Nile?! Heck yeah, I'm there. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Sam said...

Fantastic shots of you on the Nile. You managed to pack a lot of stuff into your first day. Please post more!!! Sam

At 5:21 AM, Blogger Craig said...

Thanks Kim. I love the book of your life. If we just could get thru those checkpoints quicker (-: Spoiled ass Americans we Are. Glad you made it in with no REAL troubles.. Much Love Craig

At 5:28 AM, Blogger Craig said...

Oh Yeah !! Just watched the video and way to hit the ground running....Sweet !!

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Craig said...

could you please change and send emails to

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Lori said...

Okay, I just watched the video. Wonderful. Did the music come with or did you add? Either way, it worked.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Josee Valcourt said...

Loving, LOVING the Animoto slide show. Looks like it went longer than 30 seconds. Yes?

The pictures were fabulous. I noticed you have no grits so I plan to bring you a canister. Also, we'll need to grab some fish from the market. I could do some serious culinary work on that. And the Lebanese dish (oh the shrimps!), yum-my!

And of course, I love the shot of you sailing on Baby Moses' Nile River.


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