Arrived in Cairo: First Impressions

We have landed! After so much time thinking about and preparing to leave for Cairo, it seems surreal to actually be here.

Air Egypt was very good to us. No one looked twice at our massive carry-on luggage and one poor flight attendant even survived lifting it above his head to get it into the overhead bin. Jade and I together had massively failed to do the same!

I cursed at myself a few times as I tried to manage the luggage cart leaving the airport.. 5 huge bags leaning off to the side as I maneuvred the cart through sand, dirt, potholes, cars honking to get me moving faster which of course, made me falter and begin to drop said bags onto the ground.

Sweaty and tired, Jade and I managed to find our way onto the school van, pleasantly pleased with ourselves to have finished stage 1 of moving. As we glanced at the terrain from the airport to our new home in New Cairo, we both thought of Morocco. Hot (like heat wave hot, like “I forgot to turn the oven off on the hottest day in Canada” hot), sandy, slightly windy, dusty and yes, dirty at times, was what it looked like from the van’s windows. All this was immediately confirmed in minutes when we arrived at our flat.

Glancing up at the building, I reminisced of places lived in the world. Other than my home in South Africa, I haven’t lived in such a grand looking building. Elaborately designed and coloured to melt into its surroundings, homes seem to be one colour in our neighborhood…a light brown that makes home and earth look like one.

Trudging up the stairs to the second level was a work out. Second level being a misnomer as it feels much more like 5th level. If I decide to “cheap it out” and not join a gym, I think I could leave my flat and return to it various times through out the day and call it “even”.

As Jade and I entered, we were slightly blown away. Appearances wise, the flat appears decadent, spacious and cool. Air con will do that! Marble floors, huge oversized furniture, deluxe heavy curtains reminiscent of castles in Europe make our flat far from any hardship posting I might have encountered in my past!

Our landlord seems “hands on” in a good way. Available when you need him and with the added bonus, of being able to speak English. Immediately Jade and I collapsed onto our beds in a sweaty heap. Nothing elegant about how we felt or looked by this point.

After a few hours of sleep, we ventured out to do some shopping in a loopy kind of comatose state. Struggling with the currency (never my strong point), we found some basic items (plastic containers for our food to set parameters for any future insects who desire to eat their way through our home, adapters that didn’t work, and plastic cups because one can never have too many plastic cups!) Satisfied, I ate my first Egyptian veggie burger with some other teachers and enjoyed our first dancing water fountain that came complete with Michael Jackson tunes.

So far our suburb doesn’t come with camels, too much noise or too much chaos. In fact, it seems safe, quieter than expected and very manageable. The mosque is next door but because our building resembles a castle with fortress walls, we can only vaguely hear the call to prayer. The dogs are much louder but then again, dogs in the countries that I travel to, always are!

Contemplating going outside to take a picture of our building, I realize that I have to go through 3 sets of locked doors and the “which key is it?” as well as the numerous stairs…uhmmm…we will see.

CiaoΒ from Cairo! I know Italian seems strange but it is short and I know how to spell it as opposed to my Arabic which consists of 1 word at the moment! Yes… it is on my To Do list πŸ™‚

77 comments

  1. Mimi_90 · November 9, 2015

    This is amazing!! I’m currently living and working in Seoul, South Korea, but Egypt has always been on my list of places to visit and explore!! And I’m currently looking at a few schools in Egypt, as I’m applying to international schools! Can’t wait to hear more!

    https://mimisw0rld.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · November 10, 2015

      Thanks Mimi for dropping by. The internet is a bit dicey here so I haven’t posted as much as I usually do and school has been very busy as well. I also lived in Korea. Egypt is a world away but shopping is still important here as it is in Seoul!

      Like

      • Mimi_90 · November 10, 2015

        Looking forward to hearing more about your experience πŸ™‚

        mimisw0rld.wordpress.com

        Liked by 1 person

  2. joannesisco · August 30, 2015

    I know I’m reading your posts out of order, but it is nice to hear that your first impression of your new home was a positive one. Hope all your new experiences are turning out to be good ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · September 3, 2015

      Thanks Joanne. That is ok – the out of order reading – as my life is completely out of order at the moment as well. With limited to no wifi, it has changed drastically and means everything is a lot more work and nothing quite goes according to plan! Hope all is well with you too.

      Like

      • joannesisco · September 3, 2015

        We tend to take so much for granted, then have huge reality checks when we travel. Adjustment to limited/no wifi was a huge one for me this summer on vacation … and I had to endure it for only 2 days!!
        Good luck with all the adjustments in your life right now πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · September 10, 2015

        Hi Joanne! The limited wifi or the very expensive packages that come to so many restrictions are such a challenge. My blog has come to a standstill in only the 3rd week of being here! At unbelievable moments like now when it works, I can’t believe it! Yes…tons of adjustments, everyday. And I think I need the good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

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  4. fifi + hop · August 19, 2015

    Congrats to a great start – apartment sounds amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 20, 2015

      Thanks. We are off to a great, albeit very very hot sweaty start!

      Like

  5. Paula · August 18, 2015

    So happy to see you’ve made it and are settling in! Loving this vicarious ride – thank you for sharing with all of us!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 19, 2015

      Thank you Paula for following along. It makes the ride more fun for me as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on your safe arrival! Your Cairo home looks mighty fine. I can’t wait to hear your Cairo tales. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. njmagas · August 18, 2015

    That is a very, very nice apartment! Goodness it’s a far cry from what we’ve got over here, and our place is considered pretty swanky for foreigners’ accommodations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 18, 2015

      Thanks. We were very pleasantly surprised. It is very cool (temp wise) thank goodness which is of the upmost importance due to the heat right now!

      Like

      • njmagas · August 19, 2015

        I admit, I’m more than a little jealous. There’s some serious character in your new place! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · August 20, 2015

        Ha Ha! Thanks so much. Yes, it does seem to ooze Egyptian character.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Soso · August 18, 2015

    Hi Cheryl, I started to follow your blog a little time ago. I will be moving abroad too in some weeks. My husband got the job but I will be the first one to jump on the plane to Nairobi. I do recognise myself in your writings. So much to discover, just like you! Looking forward to your next adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 18, 2015

      Thanks so much. Glad you stopped by and commented. I look forward to reading of your adventures in Kenya as well. We look forward to travelling there as well. Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

      • Soso · August 19, 2015

        Hi Cheryl! I hope you read a bit of French then! πŸ˜ƒ

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · August 20, 2015

        I do. I have a degree in French literature that I should put to use sometime before I forget every word of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Soso · August 20, 2015

        Alors c’est super! A trΓ¨s vite!

        Like

  9. SD Gates · August 18, 2015

    How exciting – you made it in one piece. I like your new digs, very swank. You guys are going on the Nile? Wow – wow!!! I went to the Pet Store (how exciting is that?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 18, 2015

      You are too funny. Yes, the Nile was fun but seriously had to keep reminding ourselves that it was the Nile as it is set in an urban area and in my imagination, I picture the Nile as it goes through the countryside. Will have to wait until I see that version πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • SD Gates · August 18, 2015

        I was imagining the countryside version too, but still, any being on any part of the Nile is still really exciting!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · August 18, 2015

        I agree πŸ™‚ We will take it even if it is in the city.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. backpackerlee · August 17, 2015

    Day 1 over with, maybe it will get easier from here on in? Oh and good luck learning Arabic! It’s difficult! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  11. uncle gerry · August 17, 2015

    Nice place !!!! glad all went well !! the Nile!!! how exciting / Enjoy!!!

    uncle gerry

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 17, 2015

      Thanks Ger! It has been a busy beginning getting settled in, buying water every day and a few odds and ends for the flat… and a lot of visits to the phone company to try to get our phones working! After 4 visits, Jade’s is still not working. The heat is incredible – like a thick fog of heat that totally encompasses us. Tomorrow I go to school to check it out so I am excited for that. Saw a bit of the school today and it was fun πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. WhenInTurkey · August 17, 2015

    Maşallah, glad you arrived safe and sound!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Keri from Baby Globetrotters · August 17, 2015

    good luck with your next chapter, you seem well prepared for what life will throw at you and the apartment looks pretty decent for Cairo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 17, 2015

      Thanks Keri. It was furnished so that helps… now for the bits and pieces to add to it and make it “our’s”. Off to Ikea maybe today to be overwhelmed by choices πŸ™‚

      Like

  14. barnraised · August 17, 2015

    So exciting! Can’t wait to hear more!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. de Wets Wild · August 17, 2015

    Glad to know you arrived safely and that your new home already looks like a home! The worst part of moving is the living out of boxes while you slowly find a place for all your stuff.

    Looking forward to sharing your Egyptian adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 17, 2015

      Thank you. We were fortunate to find a furnished flat while in Canada so it was immediately to the flat after the airport. Made for a very easy move.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. La Sabrosona · August 16, 2015

    Yay! You made it! So happy to hear you arrived safely. Your flat looks like a lovely place to call home after a hectic day out and about. Be well πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 17, 2015

      Thank you. Hope you are doing well too. My husband said it was hot yesterday (34) but I am afraid we outdid him with our 43!

      Liked by 1 person

      • La Sabrosona · August 17, 2015

        Ouch! Yeah you win, haha. We took the kids to the park around 5:30 pm yesterday and we were all sweating and reaching for water – it was brutal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · August 17, 2015

        Yes, water is our lives too at the moment and still not drinking enough probably!

        Like

  17. Quirky Little Planet · August 16, 2015

    Looking forward to reading more about your life in Cairo!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Petal and Mortar · August 16, 2015

    Can’t wait to read your updates & adventures in Cairo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thanks! Can’t wait to have some that go beyond figuring out how my keys work and where the best grocery store is!

      Like

  19. A Journey With You · August 16, 2015

    Glad you arrived safely. I lived in Maadi when I was there. I’ll have to ask my husband which part of the city his mother lives in. His sister lives in Gouna (a nice getaway from Cairo). I hope you settle in and enjoy your new home. So much to do, so much to see, so much to discover!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      We just visited Maadi for our Nile felucca ride. We are living in Katameya where the school is located (right around the corner from us) and it is beginning to be more developed but still not as busy as Maadi is. The bus would have taken us from Maadi to Katameya each day but that can end up being 45 min long or even longer twice a day. This way Jade can walk to school in about 1 minute instead. Maadi looked very nice with lots of action, restaurants, the corniche etc. We will go in to it on the weekends as well as go further into Cairo as well.Super excited… except the heat wave is a tad stifling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A Journey With You · August 17, 2015

        I love feluccas! We used to go out on them all the time when I was in high school. Maadi wasn’t as developed when I lived there, but that has been a long time now. My mother-in-law lives in Muhandaseen (not spelled correctly). It is a nice area too. I’m not familiar with the area you are in. I will ask my husband though, because he may know it. Yes, the heat can be…exhausting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · August 17, 2015

        My area is part of New Cairo… which I think is about 10 years old or so but I could easily be wrong! The streets are a bit quieter but the dogs still prevail (chose a different route home from the store today to avoid the pack guarding one street).

        Liked by 1 person

      • A Journey With You · August 17, 2015

        I am all for animal rights, but I have to be honest, I hated the dogs in Cairo.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · August 18, 2015

        I know. I love them too but when I travel and live in certain places, they can be intimidating when left to roam the streets as packs!

        Liked by 1 person

      • A Journey With You · August 18, 2015

        I know!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Nancy · August 16, 2015

    Thanks for posting! I was wondering how you and Jade were making out. Sounds so exciting. I love your flat. I admit it is nothing like what I pictured. I hope you continue to enjoy your adventure! Can’t wait o hear more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thanks Nancy. It isn’t what we had pictured in our heads either! But we will take it πŸ™‚ Hope your summer is going well as you head back to the autumn crunch time. Take care. Cheryl and Jade

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Anabel Marsh · August 16, 2015

    Glad to hear you have arrived safely – hope the jet lag doesn’t linger!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      We are gettting there Anabel. Starting to fall asleep now at midnight to 1AM but still waking up a tad too late if I plan on teaching or getting my classroom ready anytime soon!!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. dawnkinster · August 16, 2015

    Glad you have arrived safely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thanks Dawn. Appreciate it. Hoping you are having a good end to your summer.

      Like

  23. Manja Mexi Movie · August 16, 2015

    YEAH! Ciao to you too! The building looks marvellous, looking forward to more photos. But my favourite is the kitchen floor. πŸ™‚ Wishing you a speediest adaptation, especially to heat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thank you so much πŸ™‚ Yes, the kitchen floor is a bit on the busy side πŸ™‚ Just came home at 9pm and was sweating profusely! I will need to adapt!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. karenfranza · August 16, 2015

    You made it! Let the adventure begin!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thank you. It has…. getting groceries and buying them is an adventure in itself at the moment. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Daisy9979 · August 16, 2015

    Can’t wait to read about your new adventures! It looks like a beautiful place! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thank you. Hopefully you are all settled in and starting your new job? Best of luck to you!

      Like

  26. Dee Gilbert · August 16, 2015

    Wow! The armoire look massive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Yes Dee it is! Unbelievably huge which is fine since the rooms are large so they at least take up some space!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Lucy & Marty · August 16, 2015

    I am glad to hear you made it safe and sound to Cario! I can’t wait to read about your adventures there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thank you so much. So far it seems adventurous to leave the flat and survive the heat and make it across the street!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. clara@expatpartnersurvival.com · August 16, 2015

    Well done on surviving your first day! It’s all pretty overwhelming at the start but sounds like you’re coming really well. Hope you’re enjoying your first Egyptian weekend!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thanks, I think my first weekend passed with me barely noticing. I think my week has begun today (Sunday)! Hardly know what time or day it is as still feeling the jet lag. Take care yourself as you resettle too.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. vrein11 · August 16, 2015

    Sounds Amazing!!! So excited for you and can’t wait to hear more about your adventures. What a beautiful building! Blessings, vicki

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

      Thanks Vicki. In an hour we head to the Nile for our first sailboat ride. Hope all is well at your end too!

      Like

      • vrein11 · August 16, 2015

        Nothing as exciting as a trip down the Nile! Thanks so much for asking- I am preparing for another year of homeschooling and harvesting the summer crops. I will hopefully write about it all this week. Keep telling me about your adventures so I can live vicariously through you!!!!!! hehehe!!!
        Blessings, vicki

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav · August 16, 2015

        Ah you are such a hard worker and dedicated to your passions πŸ™‚ Good luck with the crops and schooling too as I know what kind of work the latter involves which is a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      • vrein11 · August 16, 2015

        Thanks!! Enjoy your trip down the Nile!!

        Liked by 1 person

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