It’s loud. It’s crowded. It’s hot and cold. It’s full of history both old and new. It’s Egypt.
Egypt is probably the most misunderstood country in the world. With its rich history and diverse culture it is no wonder people don’t give it the full understanding it deserves.
The heart of the country, Cairo, is a mosaic of cultures and lifestyles clashing. With its twenty-two million inhabitants this city is the largest city in the Middle-East and the largest city on the continent of Africa. Situated on the mighty Nile River the city along with the entire country shares in the wealth and fertility that the river brings from lower Africa.
Living in the city is not for the faint of heart. As if being in the Sahara desert wasn’t enough of a struggle, one must adapt to endless lines of traffic Cairo is notorious for, some of which can cause delays of upwards of two hours! The lack of driving laws or standards is the root cause of this catastrophe of traffic that in some rare cases allows the rider to have an unprecedented amount of fun while riding the streets of Cairo. Meaning that the poor enforcement of road laws allows for things to be seen that may not be seen elsewhere. Drifting down a highway while avoiding bricks in the road, hitting speed bumps (might as well be logs in the road), backing up on freeways, and driving down the wrong side of the road; all of which are in their own respects dangerous but somehow start to seem normal.
But life in the land of the Pharos is more than just traffic and congestion. Life here also moves slowly. Watching the locals move with sluggish pace and an attitude of relaxation is befitting of the people of Egypt. One can enjoy a nice spring day while sipping on one of my favourite parts of Egypt…the mango juice. Or… enjoying my favourite Egyptian food, Koshari. Koshari is an Egyptian dish originally made in the 19th century, made of rice, macaroni and lentils mixed together, topped with tomato sauce and chickpeas.
As the summer comes and goes winter sets in. The desert spreads its frigid nighttime temperatures into the daytime providing a shocking reality to anyone visiting the country: IT DOES GET COLD HERE!!! The best thing to do when it gets cold though is to warm up through the risky but fun business of Arab trading at the world’s oldest market. The Khan el Khalil is Cairo’s one stop shop for just about anything a traveler could wish for. From clothes to food, jewelry to art, tea to souvenirs, and shisha to performers this place has it all, and the best part is there are no price tags. The market is known for its shrewd traders, some of the best in the world and always willing to find themselves an unlucky victim. But for the seasoned barterer the market is a playground in which the best deals can be found on some of the most unique items that truly represent Egypt.
My favourite part of Cairo, however, has to be my students. There is never a dull day in my classroom. It seems every day brings something new, we are always focusing on something new. School has been busy with math challenges, cultural days, birthday parties, speech contests, science fairs, concerts, and many other. At every event, I am always so proud of the effort and devotion my students put into their work. It is hard to believe there is only a month left of school!
I will miss the many memories I have made with my students! One of my favourite is when they played a joke on me! I constantly have a broken phone (I’m not good at holding on to it) and my students brought me an empty Iphone7 box as a gift. I have never seen them laugh so hard!