Cairo - Post Report Question and Answers

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This isn't Europe or Japan or Australia - it is still a hardship tour. So for those looking for easy living, Cairo is probably going to disappoint you. But if you are adventurous, like different cultures and cuisines, enjoy history, and recognize that the benefits offered - like cheap, excellent schools and childcare - outweigh the hardships - like the crazy driving - you'll have a great time. My family is VERY happy here! - Aug 2022

It's been a good desert post. Post-Covid has not been much fun, but as a community we are learning how to adapt. - Feb 2021

Cairo is crazy, chaotic, hot, dirty, and an assault on the senses. But probably the most vibrant and alive place I've ever been. - May 2017

One more point to consider is driving - I felt like we pretty much took our life in our hands every time we drove on one of Cairo's few highways, to the point that we sometimes decided not to go somewhere because it just wasn't worth it. Everywhere else, it's actually sort of fun (there are no rules), but also pretty stressful. You will frequently have to squeeze between other cars with only an inch or two on either side, and the traffic is variable and unpredictable. Some people had drivers, but most people drove themselves. - Jan 2016

Traffic is crazy and frustrating - Jan 2016

Egypt has a bad rep since the evacuations but we have been very happy here. The political situation is much, much calmer now, and we expect more people to be drawn back here. It is a great post with great people, good work, wonderful schools, good weather, good food, and an overall good morale at post. - Oct 2014

If you're headed this way, you're in for quite an adventure on many levels! - Aug 2014

I wrote this report b/c I read some others and was appalled at how negative people were. It all depends on your expectations, tolerance for uncertainty, etc. There is unrest downtown that does not affect me in Maadi. There is street crime in Maadi that is very low. Be smart! Don't live abroad if you can't adapt. That being said, the place is hot in summer. Not very green, and very very dusty - everything is dusty. People are nice, foods are good, foods are available (hey, I made borsch, eat brussel sprouts, have plums, avocados, etc. - it's a global world, I guess), it's an adventure. It's a historic time, and the sites? Timeless wonders of the world!! The Sphinx! Valley of the Queens - the tombs! wow! Would not change it. - May 2014

Cairo is what you make of it. It's probably a lot easier for families with small children, but any post is what one is willing to make of it. Don't hang out with the people you work with; seek those with positive attitudes. Find opportunities to volunteer and help, and your time will be fine. It's a fascinating country undergoing big changes. - May 2013

Egypt is a country in flux at this time, so things could change for the better or worse at any moment. That said, Egyptians are nice people - they have the good grace to laugh at their quirks, and will laugh at yours as well if you give them a chance. Folks who come here often complain about how pushy vendors are here, but I've found that if you are firm, pleasant, and show a bit of humor, you really won't have any issues. Don't expect Egypt to be like "home" (or like most western European cities) - it isn't. But it is a fascinating place with much to offer if you give it a chance. - Feb 2013

Again, think long and hard about bidding here. And if you decide to bid, think long and hard again... - Mar 2013

Yes, there are a lot of down sides, but if you can just learn to laugh at the crazy quirkiness and idiosynchrasies of living in a developing country that is going though a rough patch, you will really find it the adventure of a lifetime. Go for it! - Feb 2013

Egyptians have a lot of justified pride in their history---mostly the Pyramids---but their achievements pretty much ended there. There is an incredible feeling of entitlement, but you will see Egyptians defecating and urinating in the street and throwing trash everywhere. It is truly a filthy place. As an example, you can wake up in a wonderful mood, and during the 30-minute-to-1-hour commute, dealing with the people on the street, you will be enraged. I have spent many years abroad and have loved all of my time in numerous different third-world places, but I cannot wait to leave Egypt and never come back. I read the last comment by a lady whose husband works at the US Embassy. Her 3 months in country and her lack of daily interaction with Egyptians should be taken into account. Morale amongst virtually everyone at the Embassy is poor, with most counting the days until they can leave. - Jan 2013

This place would be terrible for our family (picky eaters!) without the commissary. Do bring physical things to do INSIDE as your children will not just be able to run outside and play after school. Be prepared to make lots of playdates! But the expat community really is great and, besides an incident with bad lettuce when we first arrived, things are going well. :) Good luck! - Nov 2012

The expat community in Maadi is very warm and open to new people constantly coming and going. We enjoyed having friends from all over the world (Bulgaria, Italy, Canada, Zambia), and many were people like us who had lived all over the world themselves. This is unique to Cairo and other mega cities, I think. - Sep 2011

Buildings erected in the last fifty years are largely architecture-free. Because of this, many parts of the city are ugly and soulless. There are jewels hidden between the slab concrete monoliths, though. Mostly mosques. It seems they reserve actual beauty for sacred places. - Aug 2011

Egypt is a pretty conservative place and people tend to dress up more than in the US. So, while you can wear long cargo shorts around your foreigner-prevalent neighborhood, you should wear long pants everywhere else -- men and women, and keep the sleeveless to a minimum unless you have something to cover your shoulders in transit. - Jul 2011

There is just one park with green spaces in the whole city. Whenever you miss green nature and clean, modern campgrounds, you can fly to Cyprus in one hour. A weekend escape with Cyprus Airways leaves Thursday evening and returns Sunday evening - Sep 2010

If you are a pet lover (as we are) be prepared to have your whole life revolve around walking your pets. Very few people have gardens. If you enjoy big city life, then you will do well here. If you like room to spread out and have space for your kids to run.....this place is the pits. - Jun 2010

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