I wish above all else that we all travel once in our lifetime for these two reasons; 1. To appreciate that everyone has a home where they are loved and respected. 2. That everyone will be a stranger in a strange land at least once in their life time. With these two in mind, anytime we meet a stranger, we will be kind and understanding enough to help because sometime in our lives we were in the same position. –Doris Agbevivi (My own quote 🙂 )
It has taken me a while to write this blog basically because I did not even want to write it. However, a friend from Cairo called me last week and reminded me that as much as I had some bad experiences, I also had good ones e.g. meeting him so I might as well go ahead and share my experience with my readers.
Walking along Tahir square towards the Egyptian museum, this young man walks up to me started talking;
Man “Hello beautiful lady, where are you from? My name is Mxxx. My father owns the continental hotel. If you are in town alone, I can take you to have lunch at the hotel. Or do you want to have drinks at my house?”
I did not respond because I had already had a lot of that around this area. My hotel was right across the museum and well known for tourists hence I knew better than to respond. They were always ready to sell one thing or another at exorbitant prices. Beware! They come around trying to help you with your luggage, or to help you cross the street but it’s always because they want something in return.
Back to my story, this man follows me till I cross the road almost at the entrance to the museum keeps talking all along the way. Finally, I stopped and asked what he wanted.
Man: How much do you want? 100 Egyptian pounds? I can make it 150 Egyptian pounds If we go to my house now.
(Let me help you understand, 1 dollar is almost 20 Egyptian pounds!! 🙂)
ME: Are you kidding me? Do you know how much my flight tickets cost? Over 15,000 Egyptian pounds, not to talk of my hotel and taxi and food! Yet somewhere in your sick mind, you believe I am a black lady who needs your $5? (100 Egyptian pounds is about $5-6) Seriously? $5?
I laughed out loud, went into my bag and pulled out 500 Egyptian pounds and said “Please take it for your upkeep for the month. You look handsome and speak good English but at this point I am sad because your mind is ugly. I want to help you. So please take the money and remember it came from a single black lady on the streets you met from Ghana. She was rich enough to give you money for your upkeep. Never forget it!”
He refused to take it and started saying he didn’t mean any harm. I asked him to leave or I will scream for the security guys at the entrance of the museum to take care of him. He left immediately!
Later, I asked the receptionist at my hotel and also my Airbnb host in Zamalek why that happened. They explained to me the attitude of most Arabs for that matter men in Cairo towards a single black lady on the streets. She explained that they sometimes assume them to be in need of money giving sex in return… Hahahaha! It was worth the experience and lesson! Travel is a school (Blog coming up soon)
There were many of such experiences, from the gentleman who took my money at the restaurant by giving me 10 Egyptian pound change instead of 100, to the lady who told her friend she wanted a picture with the black girl to show at home, to the gentleman who shut the door in my face in a small community restaurant in Zamalek, to the kids screaming words at me and laughing while walking across the streets of Zamalek.
However, there were also amazing experiences, like the man in the bakery still along the streets of Zamalek who decided to give me extra cookies when I helped him with his phone, to the old man by the Nile who offered me great coffee, to the men at the bread shop who told me all about their lives!
Travel gives you experiences that always leaves you with lessons– Doris Agbevivi
Reliving my Cairo experience has been an amazing journey. Cairo offered me the best experience- both good and bad ones!
In the meantime, what are some of the experiences you should enjoy while in Cairo? Let me help you out.
Have a ride on the desert
Top on your Cairo experience list is to have a ride through the desert. Get yourself a camel or a horse for an 1hour or 2 definitely with a tour guide and ride through the desert.
Ride up to have a panoramic view of the city and enjoy the desert sand and heat. It will allow you get a different perspective than what you already have.
Take time to see all the nine pyramids at Giza while you are at it. The pyramids of Giza are among one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to actually see the pyramids and touch them. I got some of the stones and brought back with me to Ghana. The experience is none I can easily describe. Take a tour inside the pyramid as this will also give you another perspective of the things you ought to appreciate about the pyramids.
Take a ride on the river Nile
Take about 2hours on a boat along the Nile. You can do it early in the morning while catching the sunrise but the boat owners may not be available. However, you are sure to have them around when you go in the evening perfect time to also catch the sunset over a cup of coffee or tea. The calm and serenity you get from this experience alone is enough to make you want to go again.
Visit the Egyptian Museum
Visit the Egyptian Museum not as a tourist but to understand the life of the past Egyptians and see with your own eyes the boy king Tut. Get to see the great Egyptian queens especially my favourite queen Nefertiti.
Queen Nefertiti is my favourite because of all that she stood for and stood against. She defined beauty with brains and courage. Egypt is filled with history so rich and so real.
Take a local trip to Sharm El Sheikh, Alexandria or Sinai
The best part of my trip was picking a night bus to Sinai. Yessss! No need to be scared of the road or that you are travelling on your own at night in a bus in Egypt. It can feel scary but allow that anxiety to fuel your excitement to allow you live and explore to the best of your ability. Remember you may never get to know how the journey is until you embark on it.
Explore the streets
Take time to explore the local markets of scents. Yes Egypt has some of the mazing scents in the world. These scents go way back to times of Cleopatra etc. Please make sure you do not try the Aphrodisiac scent anywhere! Buy it yes! But don’t smell too much of it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Eat like the locals!
I always say if you can’t eat their food and enjoy their culture then do not bother going there!
Try to use Airbnb to book and leave in one of the local neighbourhoods for a day or two. Try Zamalek across the Nile it will leave you with breath taking views!
Do many more stuff!!! Create your own memories! It’s a lifetime experience!
Till I come your way again, It’s me the the girl who travels to tell stories!!! reporting to you from Cairo!
Shukraan (Thank you in arabic)
Comments and suggestions are always welcome
Visit my Instagram page for videos!!! Go on and pack! every bad experience should rather motivate you to explore!