You’ve just landed from a 5 hour flight, woken by the in-flight Ahdan and 30 something degree heat on the tarmac. As you walk through the arrivals terminal with no real queues, an absence of masks and social distancing. If between December or February you can scrap the first sentence and in fact you’re greeted with unexpected -0 temperatures and a 5ft something arab santa statue. Congratulations you’ve officially landed in Cairo, Egypt.
Buckle-up travellers and have a gander at the essential travel tips I’ve realised google undersells about Cairo.
- It’s okay to be unwell.
For my last time in Egypt, I entered with a couple of health concerns and diagnosed mental health illnesses. As I always do, I researched the legality and accessibility of my prescribed medications. For some reason, every forum and landing page on google said pretty much every medication I use was strictly forbidden. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise and distress when my good friend here is laughing at my face as I tell them I’m struggling without medication. Egyptian pharmacies stock nearly all the same drugs I get at home and are available to buy over the counter.
2. Deliveries. Deliveries. deliveries!
Intashop, Talabat and other friendly helpers. When people say London and New York are cities that never sleep, they are lying through their teeth. I’ve lived in all 3 now. Living in Cairo, you’ll discover a place that literally never sleeps. At any hour, you’ll find what you’ll need from the end of your fingertips. When it comes to online deliveries, the possibilities are endless, and it was like this even before the pandemic. There are a tonne of apps you can simply download to order ANYTHING. Feeling hungry at 2 am? Order. Stub your toe and need first aid supplies? Order. Headache at 6 am? Order. You can even order from pharmacies in under an hour. Since leaving, I still send my friends gifts using the same apps.
3. Travellers don’t really walk anywhere. I feel discomfort at my privilege as I type this. But it’s true, a lot of people do not walk down the street in Cairo. Human traffic is a thing, and so is a lack of sidewalks. If you’re fortunate enough to be a part of Egypts complex middle-to-upper classes, Taxis and cars are the main mode of transport in Cairo. You can go across the city, let’s say from Maadi to New Cairo for less than 4 USD. And yes, you will see the Pyramids everyday when you travel…