Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Letters from Egypt: Next Stop Fayoum

Sometimes I just get the urge that I want to have an adventure of sorts, like that day I just woke up and said, “I think I’ll go to Shobra.” The end of Ramadan when most Cairoenes venture to the Red Sea, some of us still maintain a regular work schedule as though we were back in our own countries. So while I couldn’t venture to the party scene on the Red Sea (Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab), I decided that I could still venture out which led me to visit Fayoum.

Fayoum, the nearest oasis to Cairo, is full of character – but I didn’t really see much of it as one day is simply not enough time. I did venture to nearby Sinnuris and visited the lakes and waterfall.

This isn’t one of my usual posts, but more so to introduce a new place to perhaps see the rich culture. Fayoum is somewhat of a remote village-type area mostly comprised of farmers. Not many foreigners venture out to Fayoum, but it should be a stopping point instead of the usuals: North Coast, Red Sea resorts, etc.

However, here’s one of my usual warnings: If you have a weak bladder, I suggest wearing diapers. Okay, but seriously, remember that it is a farm town so don’t expect Ritz Carlton-type toilets.

Also bring snacks/food for your visit as it might not be the most sanitary of places and that's if you can really find anything edible. There are some hotels, but we encountered a problem as our server refused to get us the regular menu as the set menu was more expensive (also menus are mostly in Arabic so go with someone that reads squiggle squiggle dot dot). We left and headed to Arabian Nights, which is great for the ambiance, but don't expect mouth-watering delights.

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