March 23, 2007

THE LIST

Here it is, The Big List of Pro's and Cons about Egypt. Thanks to my sister, Eman and to Cairogal (Blue) for sending me their lists. Mine are in Green, stuff 2 or more agreed on are in Black.

If anyone who has visited or lived in Egypt has anything to add, please email me at Mom2dawood at yahoo dot com and I'll add it to the list. I'll start with the cons as not to leave a bad taste in your mouth!

CONS


Pollution, people do not value their country's cleanliness. They just throw trash, wrappers, bottles in the street as they go along as if it's one big trash can. Or toilet at that. This is my #1 peeve about Egypt!

Pedicure/manicure not necessarily the most hygienic conditions.

Hair coloring, straightening, etc. done w/ ancient and archaic tools, unless you pay more money at the really nice salons.

Produce 'can' make you very ill if you don't wash carefully, A lot of it is covered in mud.

If you area creature of comfort, or love your processed foods, getting Mac and Cheese becomes a treat, and Oreos are a delicacy. Yep, and your beauty products from home are $$ here, if available at all.

The air quality...burning rubbish, the black raindrops that fall in the winter, the horrible haze that clouds the pyramids (you know it's a good day when you see them clearly).

People sometimes take Islam for granted, being raised and living surrounded by it.

The tourists, and the tourist-based economy that forces the local population into a perpetual state of piss-taking and exploitation of any/all tourists, whether they come from the Gulf of Mexico or the Arabian Gulf. They will pester tourist to buy papyrus/braclet/postcards, whatever.

Cairo is noisy and dirty, and it truly never sleeps (except just at sundown during Ramadan).


Sometimes even the western stuff available here isn't really the same. (m&m's, pampers).

There are better 'international' restaurants opening up so the quality isn't always great, but it's not uncommon to pick up the mummy tummy at even a nice restaurant (chicken that was just a bit too old, improperly washed foods, etc.)

People are really hung up on titles, and it's reflected in the workplace of this highly class-ist society.

It's a constant battle of the "haves" and "have nots" in Egypt...no respect for the property of another as a result.

No policy is written in stone, so if you want something done, you normally have to pay up the baksheesh or rashwa (bribe) to make it all good.

The society is in great need of a social revolution. They often shift the blame from what's really wrong w/ Egypt, to Israel People love to blame the US and Israel for everything (and I'm not saying they're undeserving in some/many cases) but people rarely want to turn the eye inward, and examine their culture, the impact of cultural norms on the religion, the consumerist society ills, etc. If I could count the number of times Egyptians have openly criticized the US policy, but when the compliment is returned on Egypt, it's a bitter pill for them to swallow.

Taxis-they're dirty, they're often driven by dishonest men, they're dangerous, they almost run a family down, and then blame the family for almost being killed.

Sometimes Egyptian sense of humor not so fun if you're on the receiving end! ;)

Many Cairenes are hardened to the struggles of those on the street around them, human and animal.

There are lots of stray dogs and cats and there's usually some kid behind it harassing the poor thing.

People are always involved, in a negative way. Interfering in your friend's/sister's/brother's affairs is normal, and expected. the number of times I heard pure gossip repeated (supposedly w/ good intentions) in a highly intrusive manner the average yank is unaccustomed to...


Shopkeepers will always try to rip you off if they think they can.

Lying seems to be the national pastime, be it for avoiding conflict, not hurting someone's feelings, or just trying to snake out of something. My friend Vici used to say, "Many English-speaking cultures value honesty and truth, and use it often. The Egyptians value truth, so they use it sparingly."

Family is so important that parents often confuse their hopes w/ the hopes of their children. Sometimes children grow up deceiving their parents, so as to meet the high expectations.

Emotional manipulation-from family, in particular.

Traffic, traffic, traffic, Crazy drivers that don't know how to pick a lane or use a turn signal. People lay on their horns All. The. Time.

No one uses the sidewalk.

Flies, mosquitoes, and insects in general get on my last nerve.

While education is very important, it can be too intense. Kids have a lot of homework and many have tutors after school too.

Unreliable transportation timings if you don't have a car.

Work ethic sucks...It's hard to find workers who take pride in their craft.

Nobody wants to help you in the store and they tell you not to touch so your like ok, bye!- Eman, for me it’s the opposite. Sales people just hover over you in the stores making you uncomfortable. Same in restaurants, they just stand behind you and watch you eat sometimes.


Young guy's favorite pastime is cat calling. (flirting, whistling, making comments to girls on the street, mall, anywhere)


In some areas, it smells like an open sewer. The sewer system here in totally inadequate. It is intended to serve less than a million, and serves a population ten times that.

Dust!, It's everywhere.

Yea, sometimes it's too hot.

Most people only think inside the box.

Every time you go out you MUST wash your clothes b/c it gets so dirty, and shoes wear out fast.



PROS

Relaxed style of living (if you like relaxed, "il donya hat teer? Mentality)

Family is valued and employers recognize this

Adhan (call to prayer) 5X a day.

Cheap pedicure/manicure/hair straightening/sugaring and threading.

Fresh produce at a small cost.

Egyptians are friendly, and it's easy to make friends. They are truly hospitable. Egyptians are naturally passionate people who will almost always try to help you get where you're going even if they don't know Egyptians will do anything for friends and family.

The weather is sunny 99.9% of the time!

You can bargain at most places! It's fun!

Location, location, location...what more could you ask for than being center of the world...few hours and you are in Europe, Asia, or visiting the beauty of south Africa.
The Red Sea is beautiful, as is Upper Egypt.


Egypt has very little crime.


Amazing ancient architecture.

So much culture and history. This place is filled with it.

Cairo is NEVER dull. You can do a lot on very little money in this city. Many attractions and family type outings to be had; Museum, Zoo, Pyramids to name just a few.

Eating out can be cheap, and there's a wide selection of food types...fabulous Egyptian and Lebanese-style restaurants.

You can get a tasty meal for your buck in most areas...kooshary, mumbar, kabab...etc.

Ramadan! The festivities, decorations, celebrations, street fights just before sundown. (must have missd those CG!)

A little bit of Arabic and a lot of English goes quite far, and Egyptians are very accommodating in these matters.

Vegetable souks are fun (?, no they're not, Eman!)

Not everything is written is stone, so society is flexible.

Egyptians love to talk politics w/ foreigners...they usually distinguish between the American govt. and the American people (usually), unlike most Americans, who assume that the action of one government or one religious group speaks for any entire region, which is very much NOT monolithic.

Life is absolutely never dull...look around and you see a family of 5 on a motorbike, goats and donkeys co-mingling w/ pickup trucks and Fiats.

People have a sense of humor. You can always here a joke from a cabbie or anyone at that.

The pace of life...maybe the guys comes to fix your plumbing today, and maybe not. This cuts two ways. "Insha'allah I'll pay you for your services tomorrow."

Residents and Egyptians pay a fraction of the costs to stay in hotels, fly, etc.

Laundry dries in no time.

Fabulous seafood in Port Said and Alexandria.

Everything is fixable. Shoe or bag ripped? Trashing it out is unheard of. They don't have that "throw away" mentality that the US does. Nothing is wasted.

IF you are ever in trouble, there are always people around to help, Egyptians love getting involved to 'break things up'.

Women are respected, expecially mothers. It's usually safe for a woman to walk alone anywhere in Egypt late at night.


Kid's learn Arabic effortlessly.


No guessing if some food item is Halal.

GREAT diving in the Red Sea,if your into that. Beautiful sea life, corals and reefs.

Egyptians are generally quite knowledgeable about the rest of the world.

Academics are extremely important.

Family is everything!

March 19, 2007

Diaper free is the way to be!

I am SO happy! This is really huge! Safiyah is TOILET TRAINED!! WHOOOHOOO! Moms, you understand right? Alhamdulillah, it is so great!! No more changing diapers! No more buying diapers! No more carrying them around, I can now go out, sans bag if I want to! Safiyah is awesome. She picked it up in a day and now even does #2's in the toilet! (no little plastic potty to wash) We are so proud of her and she's so proud of herself. Even when we were out today at Cinnabon she asked to go even though I put a "just in case" diaper on her. Alhamdullilah! It's such a relief. I was so dreading this and had been putting it off till it got warmer and thankfully she got it quick! We rewarded her with praise and a peice of candy at first, now just the praise since we're out of candy. It worked. Yay!

March 8, 2007

Thanks, I love it when you point out my faults, really!


What do you do about people who have diarrhea of the mouth?

Stuff just spills out of their mouths without pause. I have a friend who is what you would call a straight shooter. She is direct, candid and genuine. She will always give her honest opinion. While this is a good trait...most of the time, brutal honesty can be hurtful.

For example, You don't need to point out that horizontal stripes aren't for me. Furthermore, I don't need your harsh words when I try a different hairdo. You know what? It's impolite to point out that I'm not looking my best at any given time.

There is like no filter between brain and mouth. At first, I'd fight tears, smile and change the subject. Now I just think it's best to fight fire with fire. To be just as blunt and point out that it's none of her business or that she's just being plain rude.

She really is a good friend, aside from the abrupt remarks. Know anyone like this?

March 4, 2007

Thanks

I want to say thanks to CairoGal for sending me her Egypt pros and cons list! Come on Egypt people, email me your best and worst things about Egypt. Safa, I'm looking in your direction. Tater, what was your experience? mom2dawood at yahoo dot com Fanx!

March 2, 2007

Tag

1- Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as your dinner guest? As your close friend? As your lover? Dinner Guest...Oprah, Close friend....Julia Roberts...Lover? 3yb el Kalam da!

2- Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by five years to become extremely attractive? I guess that depends on how long I have to live, but assuming the average life expectancy, sure.

3- Would you rather spend a month on vacation with your parents or put in overtime at your current job for four weeks without extra compensation? I don't have a job, per say, I stay at home, but I would miss my husband and kids too much. Could they come?

4- When did you last cry by yourself? In front of another person? Alone... about "Through the Years" by Kenny Rogers. (cheesy I know) In front of another person...In front of Dawood when explaining this.
5- If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you'd find leading a more satisfying life than yours? I'd say maybe 20 tops.

6- If you had the choice of one intimate soul mate and no other close friends, or of no such soul mate and many friends and acquaintances, which would you choose?I don't know that soul mates exist, but I'd chose many friends.

7- Do you think your friends would agree with one another about the kind of person you are? Yea, I'm an open book.


8- Would you prefer to be blind or deaf? I suppose I have to choose one. Deaf.

9-Which of your current friends do you feel will still be important to you ten years from now? Beata, Gillian.


10- If you could mould to your liking your memories of any past experience, would you do so? No.

12- If you were happily married, and then met someone you felt was certain to always bring you deeply passionate, intoxicating love, would you leave your spouse? Not a chance.

13- Relative of the population at large, How do you rate your physical attractiveness? Your intelligence? Your personality? Average on all three.

14- If you could script the basic plot for the dream you will have tonight, what would the story be? A whole fun filled day spent with all my family and friends.

15- While out one day, you are surprised to see your father holding hands with someone who is clearly his lover, he begs you not to say anything to your mother. How would you respond? What if your mother later told you that she was going crazy thinking that your father was having an affair yet knew it was just her imagination? Of course I would, but they've divorced anyway.

16- If you had to spend the next 2 years inside a small but fully provisioned Antarctic shelter with one other person, whom would you like to have with you? My husband.

17- You become involved romantically but after 6 months realize you need to end the relationship. If you were certain the person would commit suicide if you were to leave and were also certain you could not be happy with the person, what would you do? I'm pretty sure no one would kill themselves over me but I'd try to find them a suitable match.

18- What was your most enjoyable dream? It involved a rainbow sky, and a roller coaster. Your worst nightmare? A weird short bald man who appeared before me everywhere I went.

20- Would you like your spouse to be both smarter and more attractive than you are? Sure, why not?

21- You discover that your wonderful one-year-old child is, because of a mix-up at the hospital, not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to try and correct the mistake? Yes, but would like updates and pictures of the other child.

22- When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? All the time... Never

23- Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have you ever wished you were of the opposite sex? Men have it easier. Nope!

24- What are your most compulsive habits? Do you regularly struggle to break these habits? Lip biting. No

25- Would you enjoy spending a month of solitude in a beautiful natural setting? Food and shelter would be provided but you would not see another person. I'd like to but worried I would get scared all alone. So I guess no.

26- If you knew you would die of an incurable disease within 3 months, would you allow yourself to be frozen within the week if you knew it would give you a modest chance of being revived in 1,000 years and living a greatly extended life? No Way!

27- You are invited to a party that will be attended by many fascinating people you have never met. Would you want to go if you had to go by yourself? Sure.

28- If you were at a friend's house for thanksgiving dinner and you found a dead cockroach in your salad, what would you do? Show it to whoever came with me so we could laugh/talk about it later, then refrain from eating.

29- If someone you love deeply is brutally murdered and you know the identity of the murderer, who unfortunately is acquitted of the crime. Would you seek revenge? As in killing them myself? No.