1. Sheep and goats chill out on roofs.

My reaction upon seeing sheep and goats hanging out on a rooftop in Old Cairo: “WTF Lina, there are sheep on the roof!” Lina: “It’s Egypt!


2. Cars and goats share the highway.

Again, it’s Egypt.


3. Everyone smokes shisha.

Old and young, in cafes, on the streets, in back alleys… And no one seems to share, because it’s so cheap.

A very common sight in Khan el Khalili, or anywhere in Egypt for that matter.


4. Egyptians stuff rice in everything.

Stuffed pigeons, stuffed wine leaves, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed cabbages, stuffed – you get the idea.

Delicious, oily, salty, pigeon stuffed with rice.


5. The income gap is pretty extreme.

You’ll see the really rich  and you’ll see the very poor, but the middle income group is hard to come by.

Old Cairo, where the past and poverty lingers.


6. It’s really common for Egyptians to own a nice summer home somewhere by the beach.

Chilling at El Gouna, where the rich hangs out and get a great tan.


7. They have  some of the most persistent, ruthless and
sly touts 
out there.

A few invited me to take photos of them, and then extended their hand out to me, expecting a tip.
Also, look out for the guy who kindly offers you a flashlight in the tomb, and the guy who eagerly decodes
the paintings for you.

A ruthless tout and my affable taxi driver. Mr. Taxi driver was really friendly, he helped chased a few touts away from me. One day during lunch, he asked me to join him for lunch, and then got me to get the bill. But honestly, he was a really fun and nice taxi driver.

8. When they are not after your money, the locals are sincerely
nice and friendly.

Our happy and funny guide at the fascinating Gayer-Anderson Museum in Cairo. Gayer-Anderson was a married man who was in a “special” relationship with his servant. Mr. Guide made sure that if that were one thing we took away from our visit, it was that Gayer-Anderson was gay. Mr. Guide, you succeeded.


9. They love Asians.

Me, a Chinese girl in Egypt? Photos, questions, and more photo requests, I was a rock star.

As this group of girls ran towards me tugging my arm and asking me for a photo, I asked myself “why am I so awesome?” But honestly, they just have a weird fascination with Asians.

10. The Pyramids of Giza are cool, but a tad bit overrated.

It is located near the city, aggressive touts will tail you until you ride their camel, and it’s really just
a dark empty space inside. Go, but don’t expect too much.
It’s majestic, I know. But trust me when I say the awe does not last too long.

This guy at the Pyramids of Giza tailed us during our entire visit. He then invited us to take a photo with his camel, asked us for a tip, and disappeared into the dessert dust.


11. Continuing with our theme of overrated tourist destinations,
the Sphinx is the tiniest damn thing.

Trust me.

Don’t be surprised if the Sphinx is smaller than you imagined.


12. You mind will be blown at the Egyptian Museum,
and the Valley of the Kings and Queens.

Over 120,000  treasures unearthed from the Pyramids and tombs are stored in the Egyptian
Museum that has been filled to the brim. The colours and stories of paintings in the tombs
in the valleys are so vivid, your simple human brain will go “wow” a million times and more.

The paintings and carvings at the Valley of the Kings and Queens will blow your tiny little human mind.

13. Tahrir Square? It’s literally a small roundabout in the
middle of a street.

They way the media made it up to be, you’d expect it to be a tad bit bigger.

The infamous Tahrir Square is literally a roundabout in Cairo.


14. Parks and greenery are very hard to come by in Cairo.

People would set up chairs to hang out by the side of a busy highway in what little greenery
they have. The only proper park I went to, Al Azhar Park in Cairo, required an entry free.

A horse carriage ride around Luxor.


15. Someone turned up the saturation of the colours at
the Red Sea.

It’s so insanely vivid and beautiful, it’s surreal.

The colours of the Red Sea were to die for. I swear to Amun Ra, no colour, light, nor contrast manipulation was involved in the making of this photo.


16. Shopping can be really cheap.

(if you don’t get ripped off)

Trinkets for sale at Khan el Khalili.


17. The Nile River is not exactly the cleanest thing.

Dead cows have been seen floating there.

Children hanging out by the Nile River in Cairo.


18. But, you can still fish at the Nile River.

Just make sure you don’t fish a dead cow.

Fishing at the Nile River in Luxor.


19. The sunsets are intense.

Intensely orange sunset from the top of Nefertiti Hotel in Luxor. The perfect view for mint shai (tea) and shisha.


20. The mosques are breathtaking, peaceful, and blissfully

If you see a climbable minaret, climb it.

The beautiful details in the Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun in Cairo.


21. When it’s not too hazy, the triangular silhouette of the
Pyramids against the square boxes that is the Cairo
skyline is quite a sight to behold.

In retrospect, the Pyramids are more majestic from afar than they are up close.

The view of Cairo from the Citadel.


22. Ancient Egyptians did not only mummify humans, they
mummified their pets and animals as well.

Mummified ancient fish and crocodile on display in the Egyptian Museum. I got kicked out of the museum after taking this photo, and a few others.


23. And, they have pretty good beer.

The best thing to have after a long day in the scorching Egyptian sun.


But what do I know about beer? Anything tastes good on a hot Egyptian summer day.

And there you go, an honest observation of Egypt from fresh Malaysian eyes. I gotta say, Egypt was a very, very fascinating country to visit. I will definitely return for more surprises, and to feel like a rock star again.


This story was originally published on www.meimeichu.com – read more from Mei Mei Chu here.

Zafigo republished this story in full with permission from the author to hopefully bring the story and the author to a larger audience, simply because good authors and stories should be read by as many people as possible! If you are keen on Zafigo republishing your stories that will be of interest and useful to women travellers especially in Asia and the Middle East, please get in touch with us at info@zafigo.com

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