Algiers, Algeria Report of what it's like to live there - 10/22/20

Personal Experiences from Algiers, Algeria

Algiers, Algeria 10/22/20

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, lived in Europe, Asia and South America.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Flights used to be via Europe but since Covid Algeria has closed its borders and with limited repatriation flights it has become much more expensive and time consuming.

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3. What years did you live here?

2018-2020.

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4. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic Mission

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Keep expectations low. Algiers is not a travel or restaurant city, nor is there much else to do here. I would have thought good housing would be key to attract and keep people here, but this does not seem to be the case. Housing seems to be of poor quality, and many apartments below ground with terrible phone connectivity. A simple way to attract folks here would be get the best housing options, and give everyone a good view. After all, most people's lives here revolve around their homes.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Produce can be good and cheap but only in season. Meat is of low quality and expensive. Shrimps are like gold here and fish is expensive as well. Chicken is pretty much the only affordable option.
Milk/Dairy is low quality, all imported items are expensive.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Beer and wine.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Not a foodie town. Algerian food is very basic, there are some European style restaurants but not worth the price. Burgers and pizza places are at every corner. If you are into food, you will be disappointed.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No issues.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Available and affordable.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Not many options. Walking is hazardous, so is biking.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Cash economy.

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5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

French and Arabic very helpful.

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6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Very much so, hardly any sidewalks and even then cars blocking the few that exist. No ramps anywhere either.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local Uber available but very hard to guide them without language.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small but safe car, as it will get dented.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

One of the worst internet speeds I have experienced, very slow and unreliable; the government often shuts things down.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Not many option, Djezzy is it.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Do not let your pets out, cars and other animals can get to them.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Some options at the Embassy.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Algeria is a bit conservative, would recommend knees and shoulders covered for women.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Biggest hazard is other drivers.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Low quality medical care, would not go for anything invasive.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Seems to be ok compared to many other posts.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Can get dust storms.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Currently with Covid restrictions, all borders/flights are shut. No travel allowed within the country. Seven months plus restrictions is taking its toll.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Nice weather, never too cold, July/Aug can be hot.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The Embassy here does not hold many social events; socially this place is quite barren.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

British club but has been shut for over 7 months (Covid).

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Would not recommend for singles, not much to do or many opportunities to meet people.

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4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Algerians are very helpful and generous however this is a very closed country and I feel there is limited social mingling with foreigners.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Not recommended.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Mostly men in the public, some higher end cafes where women are present but out on the streets you mostly see men only.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

So far not many, travel to Europe was a highlight but with entry restrictions and closed air space that is gone.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

I would imagine many gems in Algeria but the Govt. does not allow travel outside of Algiers.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not a shopping post.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Weather is pleasant. Used to be close proximity to Europe but not anymore.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I knew there were restrictions and it was a closed country but had not realized how all that affects your quality of life.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No, I would not. Might be a good post for families with young kids as I imagine you are self-sufficient socially. For young couples and singles not much to do.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Your road trip plans.

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4. But don't forget your:

Alcohol, as limited option to purchase in the country.

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