Above: A peek of the pyramids in Giza from the international school.
I have a few photos and thoughts to share from this week. I flew in on Wednesday; redeye from PDX to JFK, nine-hour layover then a 10-hour flight to Cairo. At the airport, I met some Cascadians who will be teaching at my school! A teaching couple with two children from Seattle. I also met another teacher from Texas, a recent college grad from Chicago and a businessman from Virginia. On the flight, I talked to a band of brothers from NY who were vacationing in Cairo. Their mother was Egyptian and father was Syrian.
See also: “Why I’m Moving to Cairo by Myself”
We were picked up in Cairo by a representative of the school. The drive into Cairo was fascinating. There are millions of things I want to take a picture of. Wednesday was a mixture of “what the hell did I get myself into?” and “I got this!” Thankfully our travels to India, Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia were good preparation.
People say that the drivers here are crazy, but I’ve yet to see anything shockingly bad. There are mostly cars, taxis and mini buses with a smattering of motorbikes and donkey carts. The honking is noisy.
The majority of people out and about are men. It’s a little different to see women so covered up—a mixture of head, body, and/or face. Some are in colorful headscarves (hijab). Some are in black robes with only the eyes showing. Some women don’t cover their head at all.
I’ve learned that Egypt is 90 percent Sunni Muslims and 10 percent Coptic Orthodox Christian. This is seen in the skyline; minarets with both crescent/half-moons and crosses, relatively.
I’m jet lagged so I keep hearing call to prayers at 3:30 or 4 a.m. The first time I heard it, I was a little shocked. It is loud. And unfamiliar. But by day three, I am used to it.
Cairo is shades of green and gray in the middle of the desert. The buildings outside of town are brick, concrete, brown and every shade of yellow sand. Rows of apartment buildings, many abandoned, with window AC units and satellites line the roads.
All of the fruit is organic; no sprays or pesticides. Agriculture is an important business. Farmers bring it into the city by donkey cart. I saw fresh dates red in color. Fresh dates, who knew such a thing existed. Don’t mind me, I get excited about fresh fruit and produce that tastes like it’s supposed to.
The orientation at my school is really well organized and I feel supported by the teaching and admin staff. There are about 20 new teachers here from New Zealand, all over the UK and the U.S. Everyone is really nice, has taught abroad before and is open minded. No one is scared by the political or religious climate and I’m learning there really isn’t any reason to be. It’s business as usual after the Revolution.
More to come later about the apartment search and the felucca ride on the Nile River!