Exploring Egypt: ugliness and beauty combined

Me at the Nilometer. The day when I wore a skirt in the local metro

Me at the Nilometer. The day when I wore a skirt in the local metro


Cairo keeps amusing me every day. Almost every day I get harassed on the streets of the city and it does not really matter what I wear and how I look like. Once I went to the local metro wearing a skirt. It was boiling hot, no air conditioner inside and everyone was sweating. My knee-long skirt attracted everyone’s attention and brought some judgmental looks. But I learnt one thing: I have my way and will wear what I want.


Some people might say that it is not a good strategy in a foreign country and that I should respect their traditions and be more culture sensitive. Well, I will say that cultures do matter but no one should revoke fundamental issues of human rights and dignity. Country with high rate of illegal Female Genital Mutilation should not say that it is in its culture, therefore it is ok; it is never OK and never fine. Cultural relativism should not be used as an excuse for something like that.


One day I took a cab and it was too late when I noticed that there was no meter in it. So I expected a long fight over the price and already wrote my price on a piece of paper as I don’t really speak Arabic. On our way the driver was nice enough to offer me a cigarette and asked if I did not mind him smoking. How sweet of him. Yet, I would imagine the same taxi driver harassing me on the streets of Cairo. Paradox.


At the end of the ride he claimed he had no change. Such a liar! He worked all day and had no change? No way!!!! We asked a security guard by my house to translate the whole issue from/to Arabic as we could not agree on the price. This security guard helped me out with 5 pounds [that I was missing] to pay the ride as the driver had no change. I did not even know the guy! But he helped me out just like that! That’s what I love about Cairo: friendly people willing to offer their help.


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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