Saturday, September 15, 2012

being a tourist in cairo

a dear friend from college came to visit me over the weekend, giving me the opportunity to be a tourist in a city that is my home away from home.

i wanted to do so much more than we had the time to, and unfortunately he fell ill, but we still managed to get around and have fun.

on his first night, we went to a great dinner in zamalek at abou el sid, then took a nice felluca ride on the nile.

the next morning we went over to see the pyramids and have koshary for lunch in cairo kitchen.

Monday, September 10, 2012

the cairo metro

i've written a few bitter blog entries about how horrible cairo traffic is, and how badly there needs to be a public transportation system... well granted, it does need a major overhaul because the public buses are disgraceful, and the traffic is still unbareable at almost all times of the day.

i asked around to see if any of my relatives ever took public transportation, specifically the metro, to get around cairo. the answer is a unanimous, overwhelming, no. they say it's too crowded, it's filthy, it's slow, but i was still determined to check it out.

i will admit, i never even knew that cairo had a metro before this year! whenever i saw those signs with the large, red "M" in a circle, i honestly thought it was an advertisment for mo'men, a local sandwich chain. once i returned with my miraculous ability to read, i read the arabic "metro" above the M. oops. but lo and behold, there is actually a pretty expansive system, which is planned to expand out further to the airport, which would be great.

we entered the station at Tahrir Square and rode it one stop away to the Cairo Opera House. it was cleaner than the nyc subway system, it was fast, it was dirt cheap at only 1 LE (12 cents!), there are 2 cars exclusively for women, AND the stations are air conditioned!! we ignored the stares from the locals and rode anyway.

i loved it so much! it even heads out to maadi which is not only far from the center of town (30 min), but the way there is always in a traffic jam, and the cost of a taxi is pricey each way (30 LE, $5). i can't wait to take the metro out there to spend the day wandering around 9th street!

my family is crazy to avoid it!