Cairo: first impressions

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Taxi in Cairo by Flickr user Jesper Särnesjö . I guess everyone should avoid these black and white cabs

Cairo is huge. Cairo has no beginning and no ending: I have a feeling that this city has no limits. So many things are mixed and crashed here.

Frankly it reminds me of China. Just like in China, here you can find cheap neon lights, crazy advertising and even crazier traffic on the roads with people who cross streets like little rabbits in a forest. There are way too many old cars (some of them need serious repair, but people seem like they don’t worry about it at all); slums are mixed with beautifully carved mosques and ancient buildings. Sleek city centers have backstreets with real life struggles and poverty. Real life is everywhere. Even though it is all real the decorations seem rather fake to me.

Incredibly hot and humid air changes into artificially chilled AC air indoors. Many women wear headscarves – I have no idea how they survive the heat. People are friendly and always willing to help, but don’t forget that this help is not free of charge. Taxi drivers will never miss an opportunity to cheat a silly foreigner. They try speaking English using all 5 words that they know, I find it rather charming.

This city does not sleep. Everything works here, just like in Moscow. You want to buy a SIM card at 9 pm in Vodafone? – no problem! You want to order pizza after midnight? – it’s easy! They even deliver you coffee – Americano with milk, please! [forgotten the milk? – never mind]

I could not get any sleep during my first night in town. Cars are beeping non-stop becoming the reason for my headache. After quiet Budapest all this craziness does not seem logical. Even though I live on the 14th floor – I can still hear how the cars scream outside all night … and all day

Seems like this environment reflects the mess in my soul: everything is not in order and needs to be re-arranged.

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About Masha Egupova

I am coming from the small city on the Russian Far East called Vladivostok, but Chinese call it 海參崴 [Hǎishēnwǎi] meaning "Sea Cucumber Cliffs." In my blog I will present the view from and about Vladivostok and my views on what is going on in Russia in general.

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