Sunday, August 23, 2009

Letters from Egypt: Fresh Meat

My first experience on the Nile, approx. 2 wks after I moved here

I’ve noticed that there is a fresh batch of arrivals to the Cairo area – many are teachers getting prepared for their first abroad experience, and some are just getting geared for their first Cairo experience. Good luck. I know that the Egyptian men are looking forward to having fresh meat, ones that don’t already know some of their reputations. 5elibelik (be careful in Arabic).

So here are a few pointers for those of you that are new:

Basic:

*Please read previous blogs, kindness isn’t always genuine. Don’t be naïve, although it will happen, try not to beat yourself up over getting duped a time or two.

*Until you learn to negotiate in Arabic, get into a cab, know where you’re going, ask a friend beforehand how much you should pay, get out of the cab before you pay. If they start demanding more – as they will most of the time when they find you don’t speak Arabic – just keep walking.

*Start learning your Arabic numbers immediately. This will help you with the basic shopping necessities.

*Remember www.otlob.com will help with your food delivery until you learn either enough Arabic or have friends who can call for you.

During Ramadan:

*Dress more conservatively. This is a big thing as I noticed many of you last night in the Ace Club. While yes, we are in Maadi (this is for the group I saw last night), it’s still Holy Month and be respectful. Cover your shoulders, avoid cleavage, and do not wear short skirts.

*Going somewhere – get a cab before Iftar and don’t expect to get another one until after – around 8pm. Then expect high volumes of traffic.

I know how difficult it is shopping and not knowing which products you may like since everything is so different. I’m going to post in a later blog certain products I like such as yogurt, milk, laundry detergent, cheese, etc. that might help some of you.

And for all you newbies, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me. If I can’t help you, I’ll put you in touch with someone who can.

Good luck to all of you and remember, it’s an adventure – one that very few people have.

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