Living and working in Cairo after the revolution makes for a lot of stories to write home about. But writing home is so last year, and blogging seems to be the “in” thing to do these days, so our letters home are here online for the world to see! We’ll try to be informative, entertaining, and maybe even funny if we’re lucky.
About Max and Casey
It’s a typical boy meets girl story. Boy meets girl on study abroad trip in Turkey. Boy pulls out the best moves to impress her. Girl is like, “meh.” Hardheaded boy continues trying to impress her. A year later she says, “ok.” Girl wants to go to Cairo to hang out with her dad. She says, “hey, wanna come to Egypt?” Boy says, “I thought you’d never ask!” They find a job. They make dad’s apartment messy, make friends, see the sights, and learn the ways of Cairo Egyptians. In short, they show Egypt how they do.
Q: Which is which? A: Max (right) and Casey (left). If you guessed wrong: this blog is right around (or below) your intelligence level. If you guessed correctly: go read a dictionary or something, smarty pants.
Max works in marketing at LINKonLINE and Casey in business analysis at MSN Arabia. Their favorite things about Egypt are shawermas, a nice USD to EGP exchange rate, and that everything (including McDonalds) is available for delivery. In their spare time they enjoy taking long trips through the desert, drinking Egyptian beer, and speaking in the third person.
Dahab is a little beach town on the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that has great food, comfortable hotels, and a laid-back atmosphere. While most tourists flock to the more glittery and developed Sharm El Sheikh about 100km south, Dahab is a great little town to get away from it all. Though it’s a small place, there is more than enough in Dahab to keep you busy, but aside from all the touristy tours and four-wheeler trips into the desert, there are a few more things you have to do while you’re in Dahab, Egypt.
Tahrir, Round Two
Crowds are once again gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. This story is pretty similar to that of January except that Mubarak is out of the picture. There are a number of issues but the major grievance is with the new constitution and timetables for change the military regime has put in place.
The government the military rulers designed gives the military greater power than the parliament and the timetables for elections leaves the military in control of the government for much longer than necessary. They’re...
Well I can’t really say that credit card fraud protection sucks, but it sure can be a pain in the ass. Before I left for Egypt I called my credit card companies and my bank AND my cell phone company to tell them about my travel plans for the next 3 months or so. I sat through the boring phone calls, transfers, and verifications like the responsible traveler I (sometimes) am. At least I didn’t wait until the day of my flight to Paris to get my Eurail pass, but that’s another story.
So I thought all was well and good with the credit cards...
1. The Time Issue
Egyptians are not known for being prompt. One of the most perplexing aspects of Arab cultures for Westerners is their sense of time. When you’re meeting someone out on the town and they say 8, expect to see them around 10. When someone tells you they’ll get back to you at 1, it can be at 2, or 3, or maybe even the next day. “Give me five minutes” means “I need a little time,” “Give me an hour” means “I need a lot of time,” and “I’ll get it to you tomorrow” means you should plan for next week. And if...
Sunrise on the Nile
No matter what time it is, the sun has been shining on us for too long. The bed directly faces the folding set of glass doors to our balcony overlooking the Nile and Cairo’s eastern sky. Our entire room is illuminated once the sun comes up around 5am. I usually spend the next two hours rolling around trying to pretend it isn’t there. If I’ve managed to sleep through the car horns, the sunlight, and Casey jumping around the room, the alarm goes off at 7 and I pull myself out of bed.
I’m in charge of breakfast, but...
The small lounge was as smoky as it was loud, and the music was blaring. My girlfriend and I sat at a table against the wall with a two of my Egyptian co-workers and a few friends of theirs. It didn’t take very long for the revolution to come up. We leaned toward the middle of the table to hear one another.
“Mubarak is shit.” Ibrahim answers my question regarding the ousted dictator. I wasn’t surprised. His opinion is not unique among young educated Egyptians. They were the first Egyptians to grow up with extensive exposure to...