EGEgypt

Egypt

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Walk (and try to talk) Like an Egyptian

To walk like an Egyptian is to walk with dirty feet and a swiveling head. In the first few days of my Alexandrian existence, I noticed that my feet acquired an amount of dirt consistent with the distance I had traveled. Each time I leave beit a-tallibat, the female students’ ... read more

Ariana Siegel

EgyptEgypt

At home in the first world

The only way to describe Cairo for the newly initiated is with the word, "overwhelming." It’s not just the sheer mass of people who’s unofficial number fluctuates between 17 and 20 million that leaves you paralyzed, but it's also the diversity of its people that over-stimulate all of your senses ... read more

Wendell Hassan Marsh

EgyptEgypt

Sand as a Crisis Point: A Pictorial

Sand has a way of weaseling its way into a person’s nooks and crannies—you know, in your ears, between your toes, and always piled in your underwear regardless of whether you sat down in the stuff or not. Why I don’t like this is, I hope, self-explanatory. But I live ... read more

Ian Bassingthwaighte

EgyptEgypt

We Eat, We Pray, We Spin A Little

    The last thing I thought I’d see in Egypt was a man in a dress, at a mosque, during an Iftar dinner—the time during Ramadan in which a Muslim breaks the daily fast by eating the fruit of a desert date palm. Strange, then, that I didn’t choke ... read more

Ian Bassingthwaighte

EgyptEgypt

In Land of Sand and Sun

Welcome to Cairo, Egypt. It's hot, it's sandy, it's polluted. It's loud and sprawling and it only sleeps between 3 and 6 A.M. But sometimes it's magic, like in the way it conjures color from its earthy palette of sand and stone. You might see an aged woman step down from ... read more

Ian Bassingthwaighte

EgyptEgypt

A City's Soul

Cairo isn’t hard to find on a map. It isn’t even hard to find on the ground. In Egypt, all roads lead to Cairo. But from within the city, Cairo is slippery, and almost impossible to find.   Egyptians, especially Cairenes, can readily identify each other, and everyone who doesn’t ... read more

Shanna Taylor

EgyptEgypt

Egyptian Skies

I'm not usually a landscape photographer. A view has to be particualrly breathtaking for me to spend much time recording it, but for some reason I am simply fascinated with the sky here. Brilliantly dusky sunsets, dazzling lightning displays, and always as a background to something intriguing. So here I share with you my ... read more

Shanna Taylor

EgyptEgypt

Cairo: First Impressions

  Cairo is a city of dust, and traffic, of trash in the streets and cigarette smoke in your face. It’s a city of constant haze and constant honking, of street cats, and loitering police. It’s a city of brown, all brown, even on the banks of the Nile.   ... read more

Shanna Taylor

EgyptEgypt

Hey Money!

My trip to Egypt was a big wake up call for me as a Westerner. Sure I’ve been living in the Middle East for the past 11 weeks, but there is very little that’s Middle Eastern about Israel, except maybe the bureaucracy. When I went to visit Petra as a ... read more

Rosanna Shoup

EgyptEgypt

“Mummies, this is where they make the mummies, my good son”-More dead stuff than you can shake a stick at

 It’s no secret that I am generally interested in ancient stuff. And it’s even less of a secret that I play favourites when it comes to said ancient stuff. For example, Native Americans of the north-east, not really my thing. Mummies, pyramids, and sphinxes (oh my!) are more my style. So ... read more

Megan Paqua

EgyptEgypt

“We have no idea…” Welcome to the AUC

 Just relax and be patient. That’s the most important piece of advice I can give to people planning on going to Cairo. Now, I have only been here three days, but honestly, TRUST ME on this. Just be patient. After a bus debacle that would make Prof. Maggidis blush with ... read more

Megan Paqua

EgyptEgypt

“Man on Floor!” and other first impressions

 Ahlan wa Sahlan al-Qahira! So this is it. After a year of Arabic class, six months of stress, dozens of unanswered e-mails , no less than seven tearful encounters with Mom,  and alifetime of dreaming, I’m finally here in Egypt. Looking out the window of the plane and seeing the city stretching out below us (no pyramids though–although some lucky ... read more

Megan Paqua

EgyptEgypt

For this Fourth of July, why not take a dip in Nile?

The contrast of my Fourth of July experiences this year and last year are striking; last year I waded through hordes of people on the streets of the U.S. capital to get a glimpse of the fireworks over the mall; this year I was one of  thirty or so students ... read more

Max Nepstad

EgyptEgypt

Mt. Sinai, Mountain of Moses

Mt. Sinai, located on the southern end of the Sinai peninsula, is an important feature in all three main monotheistic religions; Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. It is said that Moses climbed Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God and Moses is an important figure in all three religions. ... read more

Max Nepstad

EgyptEgypt

Dahab is Arabic for Gold

Sitting in the small, hippie beach town of Dahab, it's hard to imagine Sinai as anything but a glorious retreat from Cairo's smog. I sat with my feet dangling in the clear blue waters of the Red Sea when in fact, historically speaking, I was the closest I'd ever been ... read more

Max Nepstad

EgyptEgypt

Luxor & Egyptian Hospitality

The semester is over but I don't think I'm ready to leave Egypt; I've decided to stay for the summer. I'm devoting some time to seeing the parts of Egypt that I missed. First up my list: Luxor. I went to Luxor in pursuit of a story; the story of ... read more

Max Nepstad

EgyptEgypt

Surprise visitor to to the Egyptian capital

 Exciting news... Obama is coming to Cairo this week!    I'm planning on attending his speech, although I'm not sure how practical that's going to be, with security and all. He's supposed to give the speech at Cairo University on Thursday, June 4th. In a way I think it's very ... read more

Max Nepstad

EgyptEgypt

Coffee that doesn't come in tall, grande, or venti...

 I think it's fitting that as I'm writing this I'm sitting in a cafe in Luxor sipping on qahwa (Turkish coffee) and smoking cantaloupe sheesha.    I've discovered the wonder that is the Egyptian coffeehouse. There is a wide variety of such places--cafes that offer drinks, water pipes and, at ... read more

Max Nepstad

EgyptEgypt

A Chameleon in Cairo? Trying...

"Welcome to Egypt! What's your name?" is something I've become accustomed to hearing on a daily basis. This greeting can come from someone being genuinely friendly but it seems, more often than not, it's from someone with ulterior motives. This is one of the first things I noticed when I ... read more

Max Nepstad

EgyptEgypt

Out of Africa

 I've been living and studying in Africa for 10 weeks; oddly enough, I only came to this realization a few days ago.   I think my mistake is understandable; most Egyptians don't consider themselves African. Egypt is encased in desert, effectively disconnecting it from the rest of Africa. Egypt's Sinai ... read more

Max Nepstad

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Books

Maps and Guides of Egypt

Max Nepstad

12 Feb 2010

Egypt

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Max Nepstad

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There's a wide selection of travel guides dedicated to the country. I personally used the Lonely Planet guide while I was in Egypt and it was very helpful. The American University in Cairo Press also has some great resources for travelers going to Egypt. I recommend "Cairo: The Practical Guide" for anyone staying an extended time in the city, as it provides practical information for daily life there as well as more in-depth information about Cairo than the tourist-oriented guides. Another indispensable resource, also from AUC press, is "Cairo: The Practical Guide Map," which includes maps of all the areas of interest in the city.

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Getting Around

Cairo Scholar's: Egypt's Craigslist

Ian Bassingthwaighte

28 Jun 2010

Egypt

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Ian Bassingthwaighte

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If you're looking for an apartment, trying to find a restaurant, don't know where anything is in Cairo, want a recommendation for a weekend getaway, or want to discuss politics, look no further than Cairo Scholars (https://utlists.utexas.edu/sympa/info/cairoscholars). Cairo Scholars was started by a professor at the University of Texas and is an e-mail listserv that functions as a way for expats and scholars in Egypt to help each other solve issues related with daily living in Egypt. You have to get moderator approval to join, but you can just e-mail him and explain what you're doing in Egypt, and you'll likely get access to literally thousands of well-informed, well-traveled folks who'll answer any variety of your questions.

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Must Do

Vacations out of Egypt

Ian Bassingthwaighte

14 Jul 2010

Egypt

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Ian Bassingthwaighte

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Spending too much time in the midst of Cairo heat and havoc? Living there and need to leave? The nice thing about Egypt is that the Cairo airport is a hub, and so there is a lot of cheap airfares around the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Some of the best and cheapest deals: Egypt Air and Tunis Air fly from Cairo to Tunis, Tunisia. I paid around $220. Tunisia was of course beautiful, much cooler, and significantly calmer than Egypt. You can fly from Cairo to Rabat, Morocco for around $400-$500, depending on the time of year, on Royal Air Maroc, and Morocco is, of course, one of the diamonds of the world. Other cheap places to consider from Cairo: Amman, Jordan; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey.

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Etiquette

How to Wait in Line in Egypt

Ian Bassingthwaighte

12 Apr 2010

Egypt

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Ian Bassingthwaighte

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Lines in Egypt do not always operate in the same front-to-back order we’re used to. They are quick, messy, and often frustratingly three-dimensional. This is not meant to be a rude observation, just a true one. Many banks, offices, and other ‘official’ places operate a system that prints out numbers and assigns people to specific customer service desks--in a way, forcing order. Still, it is not unusual for someone to interrupt your cashing of a check to try and get service without waiting in line. If there is a formal line, wait in it. But, productive or not, if you see a fray in front of a counter or a window, you might as well join it. Squeeze in there, or hip-check a competitor out of the way. Otherwise you’ll never get to the front.

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Food

Otlob: Egypt’s Solution for people that can’t cook

Ian Bassingthwaighte

12 Apr 2010

Egypt

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Ian Bassingthwaighte

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If you can’t cook, don’t worry. One thing that redeems Cairo from its heat is the availability of cheap delivery. Cairo is one of the rare cities in the world where you can have almost anything brought to your door. Food, groceries, clothes, or cigarettes. One of the pinnacles of this achievement is www.Otlob.com, an online directory of food chains, both Egyptian and foreign, that offer delivery around Cairo. It even includes many delicious independent restaurants. They have menus in English and Arabic, and you order via an online form. Otlob then calls the restaurant and has it delivered for you. Best part? Otlob itself free. You will often pay a standard delivery fee the restaurant charges, but it is almost always less than a dollar.

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Film

The Hollywood of the Middle East

Max Nepstad

12 Feb 2010

Egypt

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Max Nepstad

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Egypt is the largest producer of Arabic films in the world, making Egyptian Arabic the most widely understood dialect among Arabic speakers. In downtown Cairo there seems to be a movie theater on every block, all of varying quality and content. Metro Cinema on Talaat Harb street shows both Western and Arabic films, while the Miami Cinema across the street usually has one film at a time, playing for months on end and only in Arabic. Keep in mind that because Egypt is primarily an Islamic country, most scenes that are considered racy will be cut out and some movies aren't shown at all.

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Packing

Conservative layers are the key in Egypt

Delia Harrington

30 Nov 2009

Egypt

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Delia Harrington

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For women in Egypt, dress in loose, light layers to stay cool and under the radar. Always have a light sweater and scarf on hand, as you never know when you'll go somewhere more conservative, like a mosque or old neighborhood. Higher necklines are better, so bring some camisoles. Skirts should be to the knee or lower, and capris and pants only, please. Always cover your shoulders, but try to also cover your upper arms and forearms. When going to a mosque, you must cover your head with a scarf, take off your shoes upon entering and wear long sleeves and full-length skirts or pants.

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Sports

Here it's called Kurat el Qadem

Max Nepstad

28 Feb 2010

Egypt

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Max Nepstad

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In Cairo, it's all about El Ahly (ah-Ha-lee). Kurat el Qadem, as soccer is called in Arabic, is by far the most widely watched sport in Egypt. On nights of football matches, the red banner of the El Ahly team can be seen hanging from balconies or out car windows. The street coffee houses become mini sports bars as the usual denizens of the cafes are joined by the owners of nearby shops, even policemen on duty, and often people who just happened to be walking by. After a victory it's common to see parades of cars driving through the city, honking their horns to the same tune. Zamalek is El Ahly's greatest rival; however, it seems the El Ahly fan base overwhelms all competition.

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Fashion

Clothing and the weather in Cairo

Youssef Chouhoud

30 Nov 2009

Egypt

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Youssef Chouhoud

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You shouldn't expect the temperature in Egypt's capital to be a balmy 72 degrees year-round. The Summer nights can get quite chilly (especially along the Nile), so pack a light sweater or jacket. For Winter nights, you'll likely need thicker outerwear since temperatures in the Sahara can dip below freezing. What's even more counterintuitive is that during December and January, it's often colder indoors than out. The reason for this is that many homes and hostels don't have radiators and the materials they're made out of tend to lock in the cold Winter air. However, there's no need to worry about staying warm at night if you're staying in a traditional hotel.

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Dating

Single women may want to wear a wedding ring

Delia Harrington

19 Nov 2009

Egypt

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Delia Harrington

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For many Egyptians, the concept of a group of girls and guys being close platonic friends is beyond foreign. You'll have to repeatedly explain to your friends that none of the guys are "yours." Meanwhile, you might want to let some people assume you're together. You'll generally be left alone if you are (or claim to be) married. When traveling alone in Cairo I switched my ring to my RIGHT ring finger, indicating that I was married or seriously spoken for. Once strangers noticed this, they usually didn't persist with unwanted advances.

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Health

The cats are like pigeons, but more disgusting

Delia Harrington

19 Nov 2009

Egypt

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Delia Harrington

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In Egypt, cats roam the streets. They are flea-bitten, diseased strays, so no matter how much you want to adopt or cuddle one, I would recommend against it! Worse are the dogs at a lot of the ancient sites, which tend to have rabies. It's hard not to ignore the animals when they look so helpless, but your health will thank you (especially if it's seen the inside of an Egyptian hospital)!

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Nightlife

How to Score Import Booze in Egypt

Ian Bassingthwaighte

28 Jun 2010

Egypt

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Ian Bassingthwaighte

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Outside of expensive hotels and embassy clubs, it's very difficult to find import liquor, wine, or beer for sale anywhere in Egypt. In fact, the only truly legal way of obtaining it is via duty free shops. On entering Egypt, you have 48 hours to go to an EgyptAir duty free shop, which are located in various locations around the city, including the airport, and do all your shopping. It's well-stocked and has your typical liquor store variety. You have a two-bottle limit, so it's wise to stock up, plan ahead, or request that friends pick up goodies for you if they are visiting.

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