Cairo, Egypt Report of what it's like to live there - 01/29/16
Personal Experiences from Cairo, Egypt
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Numerous expat experiences
2. 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?
Homebase is U.S.
Various carriers fly from Cairo to US with one connection in Europe (Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, etc...)
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
U.S. Embassy housing pool is depressing. Outside of Maadi, apartments are run-down and lack storage space. Entrances to buildings are often poorly maintained and a little frightening. It is somewhat embarrassing to host guests. Some apartments do not have the telephone line infrastructure to support high speed internet.
Commutes can be lengthy, due to traffic, even for short mileage.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Good availability of local and imported groceries and household supplies. Imported goods are more expensive than if bought back home, but you can live fine on local goods.
3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Plenty of western fast food. Restaurants are decent and affordable, but it's not a foodie city.
1. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Numerous gyms around the city
2. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Credit cards are usually accepted in upscale restaurants and shops. Cash is needed in simpler establishments. ATMs are available and generally reliable. At times, a credit card or ATM card may not work for some reason, so it is good to have cash as a back up.
3. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
ir is difficult for anyone to walk in Cairo, but taxis and Uber are readily available.
Most apartments are not designed with physical disabilities in mind. Many have steps to navigate with no ramp. Some residential elevators are unreliable, making it necessary to climb several flights of stairs.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Uber is available and reliable.
2. 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?
A sturdy vehicle is best suited for some of the rough roads, but a very large vehicle might be difficult to park, even at your residence.
Cars usually get scratched or get into fender benders, so best to not bring a car that you mind getting dinged up.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
It is a available in some areas, but some areas/apartments do not have the infrastructure to support it.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Women need to cover legs, shoulders, and upper arms to avoid some of the harassment. They get harassed regardless of what they are wearing, but conservative clothes will help minimize the harassment.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
U.S. Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel outside Cairo without prior approval. U.S. Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel to Sinai peninsula (including Sharm Al-Shiekh) or western desert region. See travel.state.gov for details.
2. 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?
3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Very hot in the summer. Nice in the fall and spring. Relatively cold in the winter. Mostly dry all year.
1. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Not really a "good" post for anyone, given the traffic and poor housing
2. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Nile cruises, visits to ancient sites
3. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
There is almost no end to the tourism opportunities in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt.
4. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Great tourism opportunities in Cairo and around Egypt. Easy flights to other countries.
Words of Wisdom:
1. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
2. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
Children of the Alley
3. Do you have any other comments?
Traffic is crazy and frustrating