Cairo, Egypt Report of what it's like to live there - 08/04/11

Personal Experiences from Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt 08/04/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Frankfurt, Edinburgh

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2. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Frankfurt, Edinburgh

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3. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington, DC to Cairo is about 14 hours with an intermittent stop in either New York or Europe.

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4. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington, DC to Cairo is about 14 hours with an intermittent stop in either New York or Europe.

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5. How long have you lived here?

2 years

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6. How long have you lived here?

2 years

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7. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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8. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most expats live in Maadi, Zamelak, Mohandessin or Dokki. Apartments are expensive for expats but generally large and spacious.

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2. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most expats live in Maadi, Zamelak, Mohandessin or Dokki. Apartments are expensive for expats but generally large and spacious.

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3. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Very low cost of living with shopping ranging from hypermarkets to local convenience stores.

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4. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Very low cost of living with shopping ranging from hypermarkets to local convenience stores.

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5. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Everything is available here

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6. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Everything is available here

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7. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Everything you could want.

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8. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Everything you could want.

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9. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

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10. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

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11. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not noticeable.

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12. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not noticeable.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Access to APO

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2. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Access to APO

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3. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

plentiful and not too expensive.

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4. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

plentiful and not too expensive.

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5. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes

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6. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes

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7. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Banks abound but cash is king.

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8. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Banks abound but cash is king.

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9. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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10. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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11. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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12. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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13. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It makes all the difference.

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14. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It makes all the difference.

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15. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Many

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16. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Many

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Avoids most large and micro buses and tuk tuks. Taxis are everywhere and inexpensive by US standards.

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2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Avoids most large and micro buses and tuk tuks. Taxis are everywhere and inexpensive by US standards.

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Not too large. Pathfinders, Land Cruisers, Pajeros are huge for Cairo streets. Good ground clearance is better than 4WD.

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4. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Not too large. Pathfinders, Land Cruisers, Pajeros are huge for Cairo streets. Good ground clearance is better than 4WD.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes and comparable to US prices.$40 per month is average for good DSL.

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2. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes and comparable to US prices.$40 per month is average for good DSL.

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3. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Get one.

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4. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Get one.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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3. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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4. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

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2. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

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4. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

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5. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Unhealthy. Cairo air is very smoggy and polluted. People with asthma and respiratory conditions may experience increased symptoms.

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6. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Unhealthy. Cairo air is very smoggy and polluted. People with asthma and respiratory conditions may experience increased symptoms.

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7. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot in the summer and warm in the winter. Higher humidity that one might expect.

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8. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot in the summer and warm in the winter. Higher humidity that one might expect.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Several international schools and universities of varying degrees.

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2. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Several international schools and universities of varying degrees.

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3. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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4. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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5. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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6. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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7. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, through the schools, sporting clubs and missions.

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8. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, through the schools, sporting clubs and missions.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

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4. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

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5. Morale among expats:

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6. Morale among expats:

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7. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes, but dating can be a challenge due to strong religious ties within the communities.

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8. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes, but dating can be a challenge due to strong religious ties within the communities.

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9. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It is illegal, but that does not say it is totally underground. I met my partner here. There are a few bars and cafes to go to, but they are not openly GLBT. The community is large if not always visible.

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10. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It is illegal, but that does not say it is totally underground. I met my partner here. There are a few bars and cafes to go to, but they are not openly GLBT. The community is large if not always visible.

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11. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes

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12. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes

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13. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Antiquities, the Red Sea, Siwa.

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14. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Antiquities, the Red Sea, Siwa.

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15. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Way too many to list.

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16. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Way too many to list.

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17. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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18. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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19. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Cairo is a huge, sprawling, metropolitan city with access to anything you might need. The cost of living is low, access to transportation is good and there is a wealth of social and cultural activities.

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20. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Cairo is a huge, sprawling, metropolitan city with access to anything you might need. The cost of living is low, access to transportation is good and there is a wealth of social and cultural activities.

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21. Can you save money?

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22. Can you save money?

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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4. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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5. But don't forget your:

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6. But don't forget your:

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7. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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8. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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9. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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10. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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11. Do you have any other comments?

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12. Do you have any other comments?

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