Ahlan, or hello from Cairo, Egypt! I have been in Cairo for around a month now. I am having the time of my life studying abroad here!
It has been quite an experience getting used to a new city. Cairo is much different from California. The first thing I noticed about Cairo when I arrived was the amount of traffic. There are so many cars on the streets of Cairo, and they honk their horns a lot! Even though Cairo is comparable in size to New York City, it has double the number of people living here! This makes the city very loud and very crowded.
Not only are there a lot more cars, but driving rules are much more relaxed here. It is not uncommon to have cars crowd together on the road instead of staying neatly in their lanes, as we are used to. Another difference is that pedestrians do not have the right of way here. That means that you must be very careful when crossing the street because cars are not expected to stop for you!
Another thing I noticed when I got to Cairo was the amount of cats. There are many stray cats that live on the streets of Cairo. It is not uncommon to see cats walking around campus. We even have some cats that live in my dorm building, including some kittens that were born not too long before I got here! Although it is not a good idea to try to pet the cats you find throughout the city, the kittens in my dorms are more like pets and you can play with them anytime. Do you like cats? Do you have any pets of your own?
Since you know a little about Cairo now as a whole, let me tell you about where I live in Cairo. I live on a very small island in the middle of the Nile River named Zamalek. It is about an hour bus ride from campus, but it can take even longer when the Cairo traffic is especially bad. I do not mind because Zamalek is such a beautiful and fun place to live! I also get to see much of the city on my bus ride to and from school each day. I can post some pictures soon and show you some of the things I get to see on my bus ride each day! This is very different from what I am used to. In California, I lived close enough to campus that I could bike to class every day. How do you get to school each day?
What do you think weather in the desert is like? Do you think it is very hot? Before I came to Cairo I expected it to be hot all year long, but in the winter it does actually get cold! It is still not too cold, but I usually do have to wear a jacket! Although it is a little cold now, it will become very hot before long.
There are many fun things to do in Cairo. One of my favorite things that I have had the chance to experience are these boats called feluccas that you can rent on the Nile River. It is such a spectacular sight to see them at night on the Nile. There are also the Giza Pyramids, which I was able to visit the first week I was in Cairo. It is difficult to describe just how big these pyramids are! The Great Pyramid of Giza is so large that some of the largest blocks used to build it weigh as much as 16.5 tons!
I even got the chance to climb inside of the Great Pyramid. It was such a small space that we could not stand up all the way. We had to walk low to the ground and use hand rails because it was very steep. It was an incredible experience to be able to see where the Pharaoh Khufu was once buried thousands of years ago! We also got to see the Sphinx while we were there.
I have already had such great time learning about Cairo and getting used to a new way of life. I hope you all enjoyed reading about my adventures so far and I cannot wait to talk to you again next week so you can hear more about the exciting city of Cairo, Egypt!