Saturday, August 23, 2014

An American in Cairo

sporting a berlin t-shirt & rocking the two-finger point
ma'adi (cairo) egypt 

It has been nearly two weeks since I arrived in Cairo. I am learning and experiencing something totally new everyday. Based on my observations, I have compiled a list of desirable and less-than-desirable attributes of this city. And instead of focusing on what Cairo does not have as or what I as a narrow-minded, Americentric woman view as culturally "wrong," I changed my perspective and wrote down cultural norms of the States that I miss.  

Cairo has...

  • Otlob-an incredible free smartphone app available for those living in Egypt. Without speaking any Arabic, you are able to order any type of food from any type of restaurant online. This food will be delivered to your home. Pay your deliveryman in cash with a few pounds tip and get back to watching the latest episode of The Mindy Project.  
  • Drinkies-dial five numbers and an English speaking operator will take your adult libations order. From the online menu, choose from a selection of chilled beer, wine & spirits. Pay your deliveryman in cash with a few pounds tip and get back to grading papers. 
  • "A guy for that"-groceries from Metro Market too heavy? There's a guy to deliver them to your home. Too lazy to do laundry and fold your clothes? There's a guy for that.  
  • Laws against honking car horn-definitely not enforced  
  • Sheep and goats that walk down the streets-have you ever "herd" of such a thing? 
  • Donkeys on the highways-riders do not have to worry about rising gas prices or their carbon footprint    
  • Warm evenings-I love wearing t-shirts outside at night (and pants)  
  • Men in the back of trucks-an old fashioned carpool 
  • Unfinished housing developments-who wants to move to Cairo? 
  • KFC/Pizza Hut-restaurant combo nearby the Great Pyramids in case you want to feel even more like an American.    
  • Stray animals-who wants to adopt a kitty? #kittenmittons  

Things I miss about America... 

  • Consistent Power-please refer to blog post two
  • Stop signs and Stop Lights-I have literally seen only one flashing stop light since I have been here 
  • Crosswalks-I have literally not seen one since I have been here (positive spin-I feel so alive when I cross the street) 
  • Personal Space-this lady was all up in my grill as I was waiting in line at Carrefour at the Cairo Festival City mall. Like, her body was pressed up to my backside and there was no one in line behind her  
  • Seat Belts-virtually non-existent in the back of Cairo taxis. But I feel safe because the drivers don't even wear them.
  • Punctuality-are white people the weird ones for showing up on time?   
  • Cheap Local Bars-in Ma'adi, it is difficult to even find restaurants that serve alcohol. But, you can pay for a taxi, pay for entrance to ex-pat clubs like ACE and BCA, pay for a drink or two & pay for a taxi home.  
  • Paved Roads and Highway Lanes-a good idea in Cairo to wear a sports bra and take a snooze on the bus ride into work  
  • Driving-I feel like I am back in middle school here, relying on someone else to take me to the movie theater or cosmic bowling  

Before I go...

It has been incredible to receive not only readers of my latest blogs, but positive feedback about my writing. I feel so privileged to be supported and loved by you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope that I will continue to brighten your day with humor and cultural enlightenments.    

ma'a salama, 



  1. I like the first three things you say Cairo has. I wish we had those is The US! I am glad to hear that you are adjusting to Cairo. Sometimes the only way to get through tough times is to use sarcasm and humor. Hang in there, my friend!

  2. A delivery man app who supplies you with drinks and fold your laundry?!!! Amazing. I must come see for myself

  3. Hi Erika,

    Your aunt Linda forwarded your blog to a couple of us here at HP. I just wanted to introduce myself so that I'm not feeling like a "lurker" as I follow your adventures.

    I'm so excited for you and the experiences you'll have over the coming year(s). Please know that people you don't even know are rooting for you, keeping you in their thoughts and wishing you all the best!

    Hugs from Palo Alto!

    Karen Cage