This Friday morning, I’m off to Cairo for the weekend. This is my third international trip since coming to Qatar (Dubai in January, Washington DC in February, now Cairo (Egypt) and finally Muscat (Oman) in April). Cairo should be completely different from everything I know here. As a non-Gulf Arab state with 5 thousand years of recorded history, I expect to be challenged in new and different ways. Here are three major differences I expect to find:
- Socio-economic diversity. Doha sometimes seems to have 2 classes: rich (includes: citizens, executives, Western expats, students), and poor (guest-workers). My tour book calls Egypt’s economy a “basket case” and says unemployment is rampant.
- More crowding. Egypt is a huge city with a huge adjacent shanty-town. I am expecting Chinatown-like crowding, but it may be more than anything I’ve experienced before.
- More pollution. Because of its size and overpopulation, I expect Cairo to be full of smog and smoke.
There are 3 words nearly everyone I have asked about Cairo has used to describe it: crowded, noisy, dirty. I’ve learned to appreciate Doha’s simplicity and small size, but I am excited to visit a large Arab city. Photos, videos and words as soon as I get there!
“You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.”–Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964