Living in Cairo

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Mar 27th, 2003, 07:06 AM
  #1
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Living in Cairo

Hi. I am going to live in Cairo for one year, to attend graduate school. I was wondering if anyone has any tips for a long term stay in Cairo. I have never traveled to Egypt before, though I do know the language. I am leaving in late May/early June. I will initially be staying in the dorms, then hopefully moving into a flat. If anyone has any helpful hints, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Thanks!
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Apr 9th, 2003, 12:10 PM
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I'm afraid I don't have any tips for you in moving to Cairo since I've only been there on vacation, but I can't help but wonder if you know what you're in for, although I'm sure you've done your research. You didn't say what city/country you're coming from, but be prepared for a huge culture-shock if you've never been there before. And take good care of yourself while crossing the streets. I'm not kidding, it's almost impossible without almost getting killed every time. I don't remember any crosswalks!
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Apr 10th, 2003, 12:58 AM
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Heyblondie is right about crossing the streets. But when my boss reckons it is not pedestrian hostile at all - he would just get a policeman to stop the traffic after indicating he was staying at the Nile Hilton. See if that works, but I still think it is the most pedestrian hostile city in the world.
Look for accommodation in Zamalek as it will be less of a culture shock. Will be perhaps the most expensive area, but comared to west, still cheap.
Check out a restaurant/bar called SAngria, opposite the Conrad right on the water. Very "happening " place from 11pm on, especially Friday night - empty at 10, packed at 1130 with the young, upper middle class and wealthy of Cairo - you are old if over 35 there. Everyone will speak good English. This place is one of a number of places in cairo under common ownership, which has made eating out in Cairo a vast improvement from a few years ago.
Egyptians are pretty friendly, so if you have not been taken out there in first week, go by yourself and you will I am sure be chatting to someone quickly.
Take empty suitcase for great value cotton clothing and for goodness sake do not take Chinos with you - buy Mobaco out there, leading brand with shops in lots of main hotels. Pair costs $18 and looks just like Ralph Lauren. If you have friends/relatives with under 10 year old kids, you will find huge number of cheap childrens clothing, well made and stylish. We bought 16 items for $50 when there last month. Shopping centre which I think is best in Cairo is Arkadia, about 3 minutes walk from Conrad Hotel. About 5 stories, fun centre, etc in there.
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Apr 10th, 2003, 11:11 AM
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Sounds exciting. The thing I would be most cautious of regarding Cairo is from whom you get advice. While crime rate is relatively low, the "scam" rate is high. In the short time we were there on vacation we were taken in by several scams - directions to a nice restaurant actually lead to "my uncle's perfume shop" - and the like. All offered with extreme pleasantness and a big smile. We found it a fascinating part of the culture, but if one were looking for a safe flat, I could see how it would be a problem.

I am assuming you have tried to get info from your graduate school. Perhaps the embassy in Cairo of your own country might have suggestions.

And the poster above is not kidding - crossing the street in Cairo is probably the most dangerous thing I have ever done in my life. Driving in Cairo would be worse, but we were only passengers.
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