Metro in Cairo

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Cairo Metro at St. George Church, Cairo Author: Andrew A. Shenouda (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Cairo Metro at St. George Church, Cairo
Author: Andrew A. Shenouda (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

When I first came to Cairo I had a lot of courage and desire to explore the city. I was hungry for new experience and opportunities.

Later on people around me made me feel that this city is unsafe, that using metro might be dangerous and walking on the streets by my own is not safe either. I listened to them and hated my life at some point – I missed beautiful parks of Budapest and late evening walks with a bottle of wine.

Eventually I started taking metro. The first ride on my own was rather stressful, not because something ugly happened to me while in metro, but because I was sitting on a couch in my living room all stressed out just by an idea of taking metro. I was overly stressed and talked myself into it.

Local metro is not as sophisticated as let’s say in Moscow, but it reminds me of the one in Budapest as it also has only three metro lines that does not cover all the city.

There are two types of subway cars: for women and for everyone else. You would think that it is discriminatory and this is sexist from. Well, I have mixed emotions about that. First of all, women’s cart is not as nice as one might imagine. Veiled women give judgmental looks for foreigners that are dressed “inappropriately,” the cart is extremely stinky in summer, as some of the women are not very familiar with the rules of hygiene. Women are extremely aggressive and pushy when they try getting out/ in the cart. Situation in the mixed cart is not violent at all. Yes, there are curious horny Egyptian guys, BUT there are also nice men that give up their seats to you or ask people standing ahead of you if they are taking off the next stop. This never happened to me in any other metro I’ve been to, in any country. Sure thing, any foreign woman will receive a lot of male/female attention here, just because she is a foreigner.

There are also a lot of sellers cruising from one cart to another trying to sell tissues/fake jewelry/fake perfumes/chewing gums/candies and some other things. They just throw their goodies on your lap and walk around waiting for anyone to buy it. The level of randomness and contrast is insane.

I cannot imagine what would happen to me in summer when I start wearing t-shirts…

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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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