I’m originally from Baghdad, Iraq, which has a population of only around 40 million people. I moved to Cairo back in 2007 at the age of 13 for many social and political reasons. The first thing that intrigued me about moving out here is how busy Cairo is! Living in Cairo can be quite overwhelming, and it actually took me a while to get around town, and be familiarized with the new culture, dialect, and Egyptian society overall.
Now, Egypt is my home. I grew up here but, I can still feel like an alien sometimes. However, as an attempt to work out my relationship with this land, I’ve found that all contradictions that lie within us are actually forceful; that we usually hate and love the exact same thing, and sometimes even for the same reason! So, during these past 12 years I’ve developed some serious likes and dislikes about living here and thought, why not share them with you?! Some of you might relate.
The maddening crowd
Cairo is not the city that you’d exactly call “calm” or “tranquil”, because it’s usually chaotic. You can hear noise 24/7! The good side about this is, you’ll always find somewhere to go whenever you need company. This is not a city where one can easily feel lonely! It’s a city where you’ll never feel alone.
This is by far one of the most integral parts of living in Egypt. One can literally write poetry and sonnets of pure love about Egyptian food. Stuffed pigeons, koshary, ta’ameya, and the delicious béchamel macaroni, the list is endless. Don’t get me started on the dessert!
Unfortunately Cairo doesn’t have the cleanest air. According to UN Environment, the city is chocked with swirling dust and the air-conditioning units are usually clogged up, no longer able to fend off the dust. The asthmatics often stay indoors like prisoners in their own homes.
Most days I’m not able to see Cairo’s blue sky. Instead, it’s grey and smoggy, making it hard to breath. Not to mention the general health issues that are caused to our lungs.
The perfect holiday destinations
Ok, this is seriously my favorite part of living in Egypt. I can’t even believe how versatile this country is! In the North Coast you can enjoy the most beautiful white sandy beaches, which you won’t find anything like anywhere in the world. In Alexandria, you can explore a unique side of Greco-Roman history which you’ll never find in Europe, and not to mention the delicious seafood of course. And if your into the primitive, a closer to nature lifestyle per-se, then Sinai is the place for you. The list can go on. Egypt really has everything! It’s a perfect country to travel to.
One of the most difficult things for me to witness in Cairo is sadly the lack of animal care. I’m very much passionate about animals and there’s no question or debate about them being treated humanely. There are thousands of stray cats and dogs roaming the streets of Cairo and their whole lives are a constant struggle for survival.
I actually know people who are trying to rescue as many animals as possible by adopting stray cats and dogs, usually taking care of up to 20 and 30 of them at any given time. However, we need bigger solutions, such as neutering and vaccinating, but most importantly, we need to educate people on how animals should be treated.
Sexual harassment is one of the biggest things I always worry about when walking around Cairo’s streets. I rarely walk around by myself anyways, but this always makes me feel alienated, and not free.
The great history
Egypt, in general, is heaven for history lovers. Especially ancient history lovers. There’s just way too much to explore, and you know what, they still haven’t even discovered everything! New discoveries are literally unearthed every week. The best places to see Egypt’s ancient history are Giza, Luxor, and Aswan.
I’m definitely the kind of person who likes warm weather more and Egypt is the perfect place for sunworshipping creatures like me. I understand that the summers can be too hot and the sun can be brutal. However, spring and autumn are pleasantly warm for a perfect pool day out, and the winters can be absolutely blissfull too, with bright sunshine, clear blue skies, and cool breezes.