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Everyday life in Egypt - Very important Advices & Tips

Hey Expatriates,

This is Adam Khaled From Cairo Egypt, Firstly I would like to thank the blog creators & all the "expat-blog" team for their great efforts & unlimited support .
I’m a member since 2010 and I really miss passing by the blog long time ago because i was overseas working on huge photographic project took me for 2 years !

I woke up this morning found that I have some rabbits in my hat that I would like to share it with all of you today, hopefully it will be useful and gain your admiring.

Its about some accurate important Advices and Tips for my dear Expats who are living in Egypt specially in these difficult times in Egypt.

Lets start and I hope it would be effective & useful for any expatriate not only the expats in Egypt.

My Tips is divided into five (5) simple paragraphs about the most important things in any expatriate life and specially who is living in this delightful country EGYPT. :)


HOUSING

Housing is one of the basics that any expat will be needing, how to choose a Safety HOUSE to live in, choosing a neighborhood in Cairo to call home is usually dependent upon the needs of the family or individual. Couples and singles who will be working downtown i prefer to them to live close to Zamalek , Mohandiseen or Rehab city. Who have children generally i prefer to them to live in the area where the American, British and German schools are located like in Maadi/Degla or in Katimaya or Mirage City, which is good gated communities and safe.

In Cairo, expect to pay a minimum monthly rent for a villa is approx. 4000 LE  and 2,500 LE. for an unfurnished or furnished flat with a modern style, three, or more bedrooms and two full baths. Furnished properties often overflow with the landlords tired or gaudy rejects. Since new furniture is a bargain and you can have anything made to your specifications at a reasonable cost, you can augment your furnishings with ones you'll cherish.
The best way to get your new villa/flat is to deal with the owner directly , don't ever rely on brokers because they gonna obligate you to pay more money for nothing and mostly they are money suckers ! :D 
If you have a dog and your budget doesn't allow for a villa, you might want to consider leasing a flat on the ground floor with a private yard. It might be more expensive a little but its better. :)

And here is one of the best website whereby you can find the perfect place that would fit.

TRANSPORTATION

What about Transportation? 
One of the problems that faced expatriates . Because late model cars carry a heavy import tax that can double their value, if not provided by their company, but no problem without solving. Most expats rent a car by day , the daily cost can range from 350 LE to 1,500 LE +  the cost depending upon the model , category & the car brand.

Also you can search for a good driver to be in contact with you every time you want to move somewhere , when you find a driver you like, get their phone number. they'll take you on all your errands, help you with your Arabic and introduce you to the places where they shop , entertainment etc.

Also for Taxi , in Cairo and Alexandria, inexpensive yellow taxies can be found on every street corner. its a big organization called City Cab "Yellow Taxi" where by you can call them on the phone anytime on their hot line and book a taxi to come and pick you from anywhere , I think it's the best taxi service in Egypt but it's not cheap at all but it's much better than the local taxi around the town "Black & White Taxi"
Don't ever take mini vans or buses please! Not only are they poorly maintained and overcrowded but also most drivers are untrained and drive like Kamikaze pilots. LOL :D

Cairo's subway system "Metro" is one of the best in the world. It goes all over downtown Cairo and to El Maadi and Helioplois.

For the long distances like Sharm el sheikh and Hurghada etc : Cairo International airport offers flights around Egypt as well as direct or connecting flights to any place in the world you need to get to.
Also First class trains are available between Cairo and Alexandria and to Aswan in Upper Egypt. Since the Nile flows from south to north, areas of the country south of Cairo are called "Upper Egypt." Cairo is in "Lower Egypt."

GROCERIES

Anything that's available in Cairo can be delivered to your front door. Even the veterinarian will make house calls!
The most famous very good markets which have delivery services around Egypt are Metro Market , Karfour , El Mahmal , Sauodi , Abou Zekry etc. One can purchase fresh baladi (locally grown) and imported flowers, fruit, herbs, vegetables, chickens, lamb, veal, beef, and a cornucopia of Middle Eastern and Western breads, cheeses, eggs, juice, flour, spices, cereals, and other basic food and cleaning staples. Although Muslims do not eat pork, there are specialty shops where you can buy it. :)
Each day, more Western products like pet food, kitty litter, snacks, cleaning products, prepackaged foods, etc. become available in Western style grocery stores, but the price is higher than it would be at home.
Also You can bring wine and liquor into the country or buy it twice a year (in limited quantities) at a Duty-free shop. Many shops sell beer and Egyptian wine as well, but do not buy hard liquor drinks from these stores as it may be the Egyptian version of moonshine labeled with a brand name ;)
Healthy Advices:
It is wise not to drink or cook with tap water. It is also advisable to soak fruits and vegetables in a bath of white vinegar and water before eating them. In addition, I wash raw eggs, oranges and lemons in a mixture of water, vinegar and soap.
Don't ever eat food and juices sold by street vendors to feel the Egyptian soul :D  Those stuffs are available to the Egyptian stomach only LOL because. The body immunity of  The Egyptians is the only who can handle with this stuffs!  :D ..Hotel and restaurant food is generally safe. :)

For medical , In El Maadi, there are many European and American trained physicians and dentists who follow Western safety protocols. I utilize the services of one medical group for all my healthcare needs. However, unless it is a medical emergency.

STREET HARASSMENTS, COSTUME ETC. [Very Important]

I have read on this blog a lot of discussions around this point that I'm going to talk about now , I see a lot of expat women complaining of the behaviors of  Some Egyptians and regrettably they generalize it ! :S and saying a very cruel words about the Egyptians in general ! :S
My Dear expat Ladies, simply Egypt is an Islamic country and it has it's own traditionals & habits like any country around the whole world , women are not required to wear a hijab (headscarf) or a robe to walk in the streets and you have the totally right to do whatever you want but just try as much as we can to be a sensible & conservative in your wardrobe choices. if you want to get rid of these kind of people who have this silly lustful behaviors, at least keep your legs, breasts and stomach covered. It's okay to wear a bathing suit at the pool or on a beach, but please don't go topless like some tourists do unless its a gated beach, the inappropriate attire of female tourists and the stuff that comes over local satellite , media , Hollywood movies and the Internet gives many Egyptian men the impression that Western women are more sexually available than an Egyptian woman! :D

So When you respect the culture you are living in you make life easier not only for yourself, but for every foreign woman. :)

The Egyptian people are their country's greatest asset. They're kind, gentle, and have a wonderful sense of humor, you can't buy their respect or friendship, but once you have it, they will become your Egyptian family. In the suburbs of Cairo, most shopkeepers speak English, but many taxi drivers and repair people are not so it's important to learn some basic Arabic to make your life easier.


SAFETY

The greatest hazard of living in Egypt is not from terrorists, but from Egyptian drivers. There are some traffic laws, but no one obeys them. Many expats opt to hire a driver rather than face road insanity alone. Pedestrian right-of-way? Get real!
The Egyptian government posts police officers at all the tourist sites and in the residential areas where expats live. Unlike most major cities, crime is nearly nonexistent.
Egypt's topography is as varied as her people and ancient history. The expats who live here take every opportunity to enjoy her natural as well as her ancient sites. Within a few hours, one can leave Cairo and relax on a beach on the Mediterranean or Red Sea, climb mountains in the Sinai, or search for fossils in its Western deserts. One can enjoy a gourmet meal at a luxury hotel, feast on local fare at a native restaurant, stay in a five star hotel or camp on a beach.


And i am done here  today, hope that our discussion is useful and it will influence on our daily life in out sweet little Egypto! ;)

Thanks very much for reading.
For any queries, advices or tips please don't hesitate to contact me here on the blog.

Sincerely & best Regards,
Adam Khaled

Thanks for this sharing Adam Khaled!;)

Harmonie.

You are most welcome Harmonie :)

Thank you for reiterating the important points mentioned previously by some members.

I would like to to give my two cents on something that is truly bothersome in this country. I noticed that with time, the younger generation or in any case most of the younger generation have become less and less courteous and are utterly obnoxious to the extent that they are almost beastly in nature. I know I am being blunt but I couldn't help but notice the effect of 'anarchy' has on this country.

A while ago I witnessed how an Egyptian taxi driver was almost going to punch an old Egyptian passenger over a disagreement. Its pathetic. Utterly pathetic. And this is not the first time I've observed such behavior.

Probably I am not used to this kind of atmosphere nevertheless it is alarming in nature and disgusting in anyone's moral compass

Oh well, let me emphasize that the intention of my statements are in no way directed to the detriment of a culture, nation, or an individual's stature. After reading this topic and getting a load of the scene earlier, I simply can't help but verbalize my sentiments.

Peace everyone. :-)

Dear nayeli, thank so much for your realistic post, actually i agree with you in some points, but tell me how many countries you have to traveled to, and which countries you have traveled to and did not find it's advantages and dis-advantages, the hassles and the truces, i think you were right in everything and maybe there are a hassles more than that, but here is the challenge in taking such a decision to travel to a developing country, here is the adventure soul is generating, but when you compare don't only look to the troubles you will me, because if i will think by this way ,, i think it will be better to stay home ! :D

If there's one reason I voiced my concern is because I love this country. I've been to so many countries but I haven't seen what I've seen here. Furthermore, I haven't seen such things in the past.

On second thoughts, I would rather stay at home before someone on the street bring out the tiger in me. LooL kidding  :-D

LOL we have no tigers here in the streets nayeli, we have dinosaurs ! :P hehe

LoooL more reason to stay at home.

Well i will disagree with the whole part about the herrassment, how can u say it's not so bad when 87% of the women in this country are suffering it??? i include myself, and it is really something i NEVER experienced so in any of the countries ihave lived before. While in the past it was isolated cases, now it has become an everyday costume.

It's not only me,  but my teenager son is being insulted, beated and robbed too often, just because he's "european".

In both cases i think it's an education as well as an insecurity issue. But for sure you can not tell me that we are subjected to this because we dont respect the countries culture.

I often see through here you guys still live in denial, and you say it's like everywhere else. It's not. Dont give wrong info, please!

aligirl :

Well i will disagree with the whole part about the herrassment, how can u say it's not so bad when 87% of the women in this country are suffering it??? i include myself, and it is really something i NEVER experienced so in any of the countries ihave lived before. While in the past it was isolated cases, now it has become an everyday costume.

It's not only me,  but my teenager son is being insulted, beated and robbed too often, just because he's "european".

In both cases i think it's an education as well as an insecurity issue. But for sure you can not tell me that we are subjected to this because we dont respect the countries culture.

I often see through here you guys still live in denial, and you say it's like everywhere else. It's not. Dont give wrong info, please!

totally agree

and here are some tips it may help.

http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=197602

Dear Khaled

I was rather dismayed to read your views on women and clothing in Egypt. Of course, most Expatriate women would not go around dressed, in the manner your warning against, now more than ever, women are scared to even go out alone! I have not been out alone without my husband for 6 mths, only those with a professional trusted driver should do so. I will not go into the horrific details or my last taxi ride from Mokattam (home) to Mohandessein where I was once employed.

What annoyed me the most about your comments was the fact that you seemed to indicate if you were a conservatively dressed women, you would not be harassed. Khaled I am married to an Egyptian with many Egyptian female relatives and friends, all conservatively dressed and some veiled, 99% of them have also faced harassment and worse! Do you read or listen to the news about female harassment, if you do then your comments are inexcusable.

My husband read it, and just cynically smiled at another misguided Egyptian, writing or speaking before thinking!

Thank you.

Regards
Jane Seymour and husband Tarek Said

This is a reply to Khaled based on the following posting:

Dear nayeli, thank so much for your realistic post, actually i agree with you in some points, but tell me how many countries you have to traveled to, and which countries you have traveled to and did not find it's advantages and dis-advantages, the hassles and the truces, i think you were right in everything and maybe there are a hassles more than that, but here is the challenge in taking such a decision to travel to a developing country, here is the adventure soul is generating, but when you compare don't only look to the troubles you will me, because if i will think by this way ,, i think it will be better to stay home !

Khaled
Your comment is not real, what is wrong with you, many developing countries are safe, I have lived in them! Every country has it's problems, really not many are living in a divided, violent, extreme, country with a 2.5 yr revolution which is about to get worse before it maybe improves. Yes Nayeli better to stay out of Egypt, sadly I loved the place and actually have citizenship, first visited 24 yrs ago and lived here for the past 13 yrs, post revolution it is dangerous and about to get a whole lot worse!
Jane

ShuraAllah, for the information.  What can you tell me about Alexandria, or was your blog for the whole of Egypt.  Can you tell me what a person should do if they are receiving funds in the States every month (pension, social security), what bank is best to use there or should they set up an account here and then access funds?  Can you recommend real estate in Alexandria that is not using faulty materials to build.  I have been told most of the new buildings are not stable.  Looking to come, inshaAllah, December this year.

Thanks Adam by share with us this importants tips. ^ _ ^

There are low class people and bad quality,even for women who wear abaya like me so I'm very conservatively dressed

Thanks Khaled, its an eye opener and very informative.....

Thank you .Very interestting .

Shakera,
For the bank account it is better if you open a bank account in Alex you have city bank, HSBC, Credit Agricole, CIB and others check with yor local bank and you can give your local bank standing instructions to transfer a certain amount on monthly basis. For the real state agent you have Coldwell Banker they can help and this depends where you want to live in Alex

LOLLLL...Totally agree when I read this :

"The greatest hazard of living in Egypt is not from terrorists, but from Egyptian drivers. There are some traffic laws, but no one obeys them. Many expats opt to hire a driver rather than face road insanity alone. Pedestrian right-of-way? Get real!"

The driver here in Egypt are the worse (I guess) :p

I am Egyptian the last time I drove a car in Egypt was in 2001. I can not do it any more. Also crossing a street is a problem.

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