October 6, 2008

Egypt Rants # 265,854 through # 265,856

At times, the shortcomings here in Egypt are painfully apparent. It can be depressing. Everyone has their limit. We put up with hand washing dishes and LINE drying clothes. We have to chop up chocolate because trying to find a bag of chocolate chips is like trying to find a bag of stars or something. We tolerate the crazy driving and various odors, the crappy quality of most stuff here and the stupid sales people. Sometimes we just have to rant about stuff. Some things bigger than others, sometimes more than other times.


How about the garbage every where? Why is it that most people in the US throw their trash where it goes? IN the trash BIN. Novel idea. Better yet, recycling! People having the discipline to follow rules. To put their trash in bins, separate the cans, bottles and newspaper and bringing them to the curb or the designated places on the designated days. People here can't even bother to hold on to their damn chipsy wrapper till they come across a trash can! There's no sense of everyone pitching in to make their city or country a cleaner, nicer place to live. No. People just clean inside their houses and throw the trash outside and they've washed their hands of it. It's not their problem after that.


There is a depressingly small variety of ice cream here. It's either mango or chocolate (if you wanna call it that) or vanilla and you're lucky if they bother to ask you which flavor it is you would like. Most of the time you get a 3 scoop medley of those 3 when ordering ice cream. There is some Baskin Robbins but the prices are ridiculously out of the reach of the average Egyptian and it's not the same. Plus they don't have 31 flavors! Not even close. Last night I got the idea to mix pieces of my mint chocolate into vanilla ice cream and pretend it's some Breyer's mint chip. How sad right? Anyway this "Nestle Carnavalita" ice cream tasted exactly like frozen Cool Whip. Ruined my chocolate experience.

I really want to know what the problem is here. WHY can't they make good ice cream? Is it that expensive? Do they think this is ice cream. Now that's sad. I mean, if I'm going to have ice cream and the calories, I'd like to have some real ice cream. Gone are the days of trying to decide if I want Half Baked Ben and Jerry's or Mint Chip Haagen Daz....le sigh.


There's no mail service here. I've never seen a post man. Or a mail box. Most buildings don't have a number address. There is, however a post office. I'm not sure I'd trust the post office here anyway. Who's to say they don't open packages or that you'll get your parcel at all. I miss getting junk mail catalogs, glossy magazines each day, and ordering stuff online. Things like that. Don't get me wrong, I don't miss the bills of course, but the fun mail like samples and the UPS guy bringing my Sephora order? I miss it.

Alhamdulillah for everything. I'm just being honest. I've mentioned before how people who hear I was born and raised in the states always ask which is better: America or Egypt? I wonder if they want the truth and a sincere answer, or do they want to hold on to the hope that I will say "Of course Egypt is better!" Not happening. I give the standard "both have their good and their bad" answer, and that's true, but you know they want to hear that Egypt is better and that's rediculous. There are good things about living here, don't misunderstand. For example I never have to wonder if something has lard in it. It's just there are a lot of rant worthy things too, and like I said, sometimes you just have to vent about stuff.

29 comments:

  1. I’ve decided that since it’s working I'm going to basically milk it for all its worth and comment on all your posts! Enjoy =P

    LOL! Funny you'd write this now. Yesterday my fingers were poised on the keyboard ready to rant and rave about Syria, Syrians, Syrian-products… pretty much anything related to Syria, to feel some sort of vindication against the suffering. So, I feel you, Mamamona. It’s been one long and tiring experience. And I agree with you, it’s the every day little things that push you to the point where you want to scream your head off.. that or rock back and forth saying “I only wanted a tissue” (LOL. I loved that!)
    But what can we do?! Like you said, the REAL products are ridiculously overpriced, and everything less than that falls horribly short of the mark. And that’s not even touching on the people and dealing with them.
    God give us strength, Mamamona. There HAS to be a brighter day. And you never know. Maybe if we take this all as one big joke, that brighter day could be today? Maybe

    S&S

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  2. LOL its so funnny that you said that, the first time I try to bake chocolate chip cookies last week and had to chop up chocolate ahahahaha! AND about the trash... did you look around, I mean ARE THERE any trash bins? when we were at North coast, we couldnt find even ONE! so of course, the beach is FULL of garabage like everywhere else here. And the funniest part, if you rant about it TO AN EGYPTIAN, often they get seriously offended! Like what? You didnt know how maddening that is?

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  3. OMG this is so true!!!
    when i went to egypt i got sick of everything slightly cold being mango flavoured.
    and i remember once a piece of rubbish slipped out of my hands in the crazy cairo winds so i went rushing about 15 metres down the street chasing a piece of rubbish to finally pick it up and realise people were laughing at me!

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  4. the have no sense of the environment whatsoever - all the crap goes on the ground. im still yelling at my husband everytime he drops his crap out of the car window or in OUR home garden. its disgusting and for some reason i cant rub out this particular egyptian aspect of my egyptian husband out.

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  5. S&S you're right, you have to laugh to keep from crying! But seriously, I love your outlook.

    UmmTravis..Maddening yes, people always agree that something should be done but they don't do it.

    Ange I always get strange looks for picking up trash, sometimes not even mine...sigh.

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  6. but the saddest thing fo rme was the treatment of animals in egypt..
    all the little street cats and dogs no one cares about and the way the poor horses and donkeys are over-worked and treated like crap - whipped and so on
    makes me cry

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  7. Yea, I get more strange looks when I pet a stray cat or dog. I always see kids taunting and torturing strays and I yell at them. What did their parents teach them?

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  8. I am surprised you didn't write about this madness earlier. Living on this side of the globe can make you go crazy sometimes! I Know what you mean... When I got that question when I was young about which is better, I kinda felt pressured, but now I am honest. You have to be honest, no one is gonna get off their butts and do anything to make their country better unless they wake up and see it for what it really is. The sad thing is the people who can make a difference here don't because they are making money off the commoners and the rest of the country is just going through the motions. I hate to be the one to be frank but REALLY! Nothing is gonna change unless people speak up, write, demand better quality, wont settle for less, and change things. I mean, if everyone refused to move into a flat until every freakin doorknob functioned normally and every paint splatter was cleaned off the tile and glass, then the contractors would not have work and they would have to work harder to provide better quality. It is just pathetic that this type of service is being provided but its another thing when we accept it. We can choose to demand better! I mean c'mon, the best of the best is saved for the expats of the country so they do know how to do things right, its all about the little extra cash they will save... sorry this topic makes me fume because if the prophet pbuh was with us, he would be appalled at what is going on! I say, yes we all need to rant but it is more productive to DO something and who cares if those people look at you like your weird picking up trash, over time if we all did it, it will make a dent! Those of you who do live there, please know that you are right and dont forget that, in the meantime, make the best of where you live. I am learning that the hard way here in Saudi. But that is another topic. Thanks Mona!

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  9. Well, it looks like I'll never move to Egypt. I don't think I could handle that crap ice cream!! Ice cream is my LIFE!!! :)

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  10. Eman, I know you're right..I just wish I knew how to get other people to change...

    Muslimahh, the only solution is buying an icecream maker??

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  11. Anonymous9:49 PM

    haha so truu......i get annoyed by the sales men and women..it soo hard to buy things like clothes..u have to fill in a bunch of papers an you cant even hold wht ur gonna buy and there are barely any cash register machines!! (i remember you pat post on this lol) plus it annoys me when they follow u all over the shop trying to persway you to buy merchandise from them. lol..its rediculous..im just like(in my head) : sshh...get away..i wanna shop alone! haha..lets pray to allah that egypt will step up and improve and " it2dam" .
    have a happy day,
    m.h

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  12. Yea m.h. thankfully there are only a few stores that work that way anymore, but I hat the pushy sales people...or worse in restaurants, waiters just stand there staring at you eat. I guess they're supposed to be at your service but it's annoying.

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  13. Mona, You are already helping others change by making people aware of the problem, Every time you tell a kid it is not ok to hurt animals, Every time you and your children pick up after yourself in public, Every time you make others know that this standard is not ok...you are part of the solution. My point is it is not hopeless inshallah.

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  14. people were laughing at my mum in egypt becaus eshe "foolishly" stopped and gave water to three VERY thirsty stray dogs in the street. And another time she yelled at a man who was whipping a horse pulling a carriage.

    it seems they have no regard for animals whatsoever.

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  15. I admire your mom Ange. It seems people forget that Muslims are supposed to be kind to animals.

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  16. animals are the creation of God as well.. as much we cares em, they will pray for us more..

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  17. So true Princessanna. Thanks.

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  18. Anonymous4:29 PM

    ALHAMDULILLAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!lets all be thankful for what we have got. :)

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  19. Mona, you made me laugh... I must say I found some good ice cream in Cairo, but I totally understand you. My strangest experience in Egypt was when heavily pregnant I was trying to buy a bra - so here I went to local department store with the grant name City Plaza and to my amusment they had a wide choice of bras but all of them only in cup A and B!!!!!! The only difference was the under bust size!!!
    Or the other thing when I went shopping for the first time - looking at some clothes I openly said to shop owner that I don't like the style he was trying to sell me and to my suprise he got upset, then my husband explained that I should alway praise the clothes in the shop so I dont hurt anyone feelings and just dont buy if I dont like it........ I find it so funny........

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  20. Ania, you must tell me about this ice cream! I heard there was a "Carvel" but I don't know if it's the same or priced within reach.

    OMG the bras...That's another rant in itself...I KNOW women in Egypt are bigger than a C cup, MOST even! An entire country of women wearing the wrong bra. There needs to be a bra sizing revolution here, man.

    I should be careful of offending the shop owners then, sometimes when they're pushing some tacky item on me, I say I don't like it..Oops! Thanks for your comment!

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  21. About the ice cream, well I found a solution - I like the ice cream that you can buy in scoops in places like city stars, carrefour etc (any places full of foreigners) so on every trip to such a place I used to take a flask (or two) and fill it up - the flask kept ice cream cold for a good while.
    There are some good ice cream that you can buy in supermarkets in Maadi, I noticed that you dont live in Cairo but if you are there, make a trip to Metro supermarket as they sell lots of foreign stuff and not overpriced. It is a supermarket in old Maadi, the same street where is pizza hut, macdonald and beanos (i think its Road 9). On the same street there is a bookshop called bookspot that sell books (also for kids) and magazines in English (i think they have a website now), the unique thing about them is that once you finish reading your book you can take it back there and they will buy it back from you. And there are some other supermarkets that stock for foreigners in Degla Maadi.
    Sorry for my long post but just one more tip about the ice cream - when I was desperate I used to freeze pieces of halawa (halva) - it tastes sooooooo goooooood......

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  22. Thanks Ania, ice cream in Cairo will be a treat we could splurge on, inshaAllah, however with a family of 6 that's gonna be few and far between, but totally better than nothing!

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  23. Anonymous6:35 PM

    hey, mamamona... i really like urblog..i just found it today.lots of interesting topics..keep it up. hehe....its hard to buy certain personalbest clothing in some arab countries, so when ever im outta there like the u.s i must buy them from there. well thank god they opened a carvel here in Saudi.
    Lamis J.

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  24. Egypt really does have problems. I was also quite shocked about all the stray cats and dogs and the way they were treated. Especially the dogs. I saw some resto owners giving their fresh garbage-food to the stray cats quite a lot. The garbage really is disgusting. My husband heard me whine about it so much that he learned to throw his trash in the garbage when he had some. But it really is hard to find a trash bin. And Cairo, where I was staying, just didn't know where to put its trash! I don't think they have enough space for it... I hope they can start fixing the problem though because it's terrible to live in trash like that! Some parts just have alleys full of trash!
    About mail, I know that one letter I sent my husband while we were apart did not get to him, but I had forgotten the apartment number. Most got to him right to the apartment, and while I was there, my parents sent me a wire for my digital camera which also was received!
    I really miss Egypt right now so in a way it's nice to remember the bad stuff :p

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  25. Salaams Mona! That's so crazy! I'll have to keep that in mind if ever go to Egypt...it's sad about the animals tho...

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  26. Oh Mona, that post could have been written by me, in my words, on the same topics and been the same thing. Seriously, you just listed out my top grievances with Egypt.

    Thank you.

    I'm not alone.

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  27. Molly, I had actually been waiting for your comment on these things, I know I can't stand these things, glad to know it's not just me.

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  28. I was just saying to a friend yesterday that no one in Jordan knows how to make decent ice cream. There are some mom and pop stores that are ok, but no one sells it in GALLON containers that will feed an entire family and that you can keep in your freezer. I miss Dreyers so much. Alhamdulillah for everything.

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  29. Nicole, yea too bad ice cream doesn't ship well.;)

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Thanks for commenting!