Cairo, Egypt – Day 4

On our last day in Egypt, we took a semi-early morning start, catching one last site visit before we ate lunch and headed to the airport.

Islamic Area

We took more photos of the people and surroundings in Egypt.

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(Photos above: Driving by the Cairo Citadel.)

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(Photos above: More pictures of Cairo.)

We visited what felt like a random mosque.  I entered the women’s side, while Prof entered the men’s side. We have visited a mosque in the northern occupied territory of Cyprus, but this place didn’t compare to the one in Cyprus.

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(Photos above: Entrances to the men and women’s side of the mosque.)

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(Photos above: Some photos of the interior space inside of a mosque.)

Had we had more time to plan for the trip, we would have asked to visit the Cairo Citidel. However, Prof and I could tell the kids were barely hanging on as they were being toted around the city. I guess you could say we needed to visit a low-key area, so the kids could survive the flight home.

We walked around the rest of the area, passing  street vendors who said hello in Mandarin and Japanese. Prof informed one vendor that we are Korean, and the guy said, “North or South?” Prof said, “South.” The vendor’s response, “Good. I wouldn’t sell to you if you were from the North.” (hahaha – laughter from the vendor) Wow, what a comforting thought…

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(Photos above: Souvenirs at the local markets in the Islamic area.)

They had every trinket and chachki you could imagine. While we personally wouldn’t buy anything on the streets (because 1. I am a terribly haggler, and 2. We don’t need any more things to take with us back to Cyprus or the States.), the colors and displays of these trinkets were very colorful.

American Food in Cairo – McDonald’s

IMG_2331One would be remiss to eat at the famous golden arches in Cairo. As discussed from our Hana Korean Restaurant review, Piano Man was not in the mood to try new foods, so McD’s was our best option.

We ordered chicken nuggets, but they had none, so it was on to plan B: the cheeseburger. We ordered a chicken sandwich and Beef Royal without cheese. We came back with a Big Mac and Royal with cheese. Our guide ordered the McArabia. He says it’s one of his favorites.

I think McDonald’s does a fantastic job researching its menu options to correctly market towards its audience. The menu consisted of choices that ranged from your typical Big Mac to the McArabia, which is smart since almost no one in Egypt eats pork.

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(Photos above: The McArabia!)

While I have to say this wasn’t one of our best McDonald’s moments, it worked out for the best. However, once we are back in the States, I hope not to eat at McDonald’s again for a very long time. I think my arteries will thank me later.

Women’s Fashion in Egypt

IMG_2295I couldn’t help but notice the women in Egypt and their style of clothing.  Egypt is place where women display modesty within the context of culture, and in the realm of fashion, it was no different. Besides physical appearances, you can immediately tell the difference between a tourist from a local. For those who live in Egypt, even those who are not Muslim, women still cover their arms and legs. Perhaps there are exceptions to the rule, but the only people I saw showing tight t-shirts, capris, scapula to cleavage outfits were tourists.

It was hard not to notice the plethora of fashion choices Egyptian women wore. The style of conservative wear ranged from covering one’s arms and legs in western style clothing to adding a hijab or to the extreme full cover in a burka to include matching black gloves.

IMG_2848Speaking only about the hijab, the women who wore western style clothing with the hijab coordinated the hijab so well. Some women used the colorful hijab to match the color of their flat ballet slippers/loafers. Others would wear a bright floral print hijab with a solid colored long sleeve sweater and jeans.

It was interesting to see how cultural habits didn’t keep Egyptian women from making their fashion choices; it is almost enhanced their outfit when they wore a beautiful headpiece, accentuating the beauty of their facial features.

Funny thing was a few young Egyptian girls wanted to take pictures of me and called me beautiful. I was like, “Uh, you talkin’ to me?” I made conversations with a couple of the girls in the bathroom (of all places) at Pizza Hut, and I found them to be quite beautiful. After all, I rock the no make up, gray hair-streak look so well with wiped on grease stains from my boys. I thought, “How funny.  We, women, always think that the other person is more beautiful than one’s self.” Well, unless you’re narcissistic.

All I can say is Egypt is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people.

Treatment of Asians in Cairo – My Perspective

Honestly, I had my reservations about visiting Egypt. I worried about our safety, the kids, and assumed that people in Egypt would need time to warm up to foreigners, especially Asians. I was completely wrong. The people in Egypt were so kind and friendly, especially showing kindness to our children. Many of the teenage girls wanted to take pictures of the kids, almost like they were rock stars. One Egyptian woman made a b-line straight for Linus and kissed him on the lips. She did have to wipe her mouth because Linus had a lot of residual ice cream and snot on his face. I felt bad for that, but she was so cool about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am sure there are prejudices that one faces when visiting any foreign country. Goodness, it happens all the time in America, but my negative assumptions about how Asians are treated in Egypt were not there.

Perhaps, it was because we also had a tour guide staying with us at every step of our trip to ensure that we would not be duped or hoodwinked by some unsuspecting vendor, like you would find in any major city.

We noticed other tourists who trusted an unvetted vendor to give them a tour of the museum or around the pyramids, and they suffered a little to a lot of harassment for more than what they thought they should pay.

Thus, we are very glad to have had our tour guide help us navigate through a richly historical country, so that we could enjoy Egypt to its fullest.

Conclusion

The last time I remember learning about King Tut and the famous ancient pyramids was in middle school in my world history class. Never in my life did I ever imagine that we would travel to Africa, let alone to Egypt’s great ancient pyramids. If I had a bucket list, this would definitely be checked off my list.

While Linus won’t remember anything from this trip, perhaps Piano Man will have some memories and come to understand the amazing opportunities he has had as a little Kindergartner.

Finally, we probably should have done less and taken more breaks for the kids and attended more kid-friendly activities, such as visiting Giza Zoo. If you ever make a trip to Cairo, Egypt, we recommend taking the time to visit those parks, playgrounds, or one of three zoos around Egypt. Your young ones will thank you for it.

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