September 8th, 2010

Welcome To Cairo.  |  27 Comments

Beautiful Chaos. Two words that I managed to derive together after being asked various amount of times from different people “What is Cairo like?”.¬† A huge metropolis that is situated on the river Nile in the heart of the middle east, Cairo is the place where chaos thrives.

I was fortunate to have lived here for 13 years, coming from Toronto, I was exposed to a completely different culture and language, an exposure I believe was integral in helping me establish a broader perspective in life & for that I’m extremely grateful. I briefly visited Egypt’s capital city for a week or so last year, but besides that, I haven’t been here for 6 years. A lot has changed, for good and for worse.

Upon first arriving here, it’s easy to get sucked into the obvious negative aspects of the city, heavily polluted, crowded streets as result of very poor urban planning, lack of cleanliness and order and the list goes on. But I decided long ago that as much as can, I’ll try to keep the energy I emit and interpret positive. The glass is half full and by the way, it’s filled with the most delicious juice you’ve ever tasted in your life.

Cairo is a city where so many layers exisit, an immesnse amount of history is contained in tightly packed rapidly expanding metropolis.¬†Delightful details ready to tickle your eyes and mind exisit all around you, I truly feel blessed to be able to have left here for 6 years and come back with a fresh set of eyes and appreciation for what I took for granted living here in the past. Everywhere I go, there is an overwhelming amount of visual stimuli, coming from such a newborn fresh city such as Toronto, It’s like a little kid in a candy shop.

Ramadan in Cairo, (The lunar month where muslims fast) has also a very unique feel. Calls for prayer from hundreds of minarets ring wonderfully and mystically throughout the air 5 times a day, the majority of the population is all engaged in ubstaining from eating and drinking from sunrise till sunset. Then when the sun sets, people everywhere are breaking there fast, stores open left and right, if you happen to be in transportation on your way somewhere at the time, it’s completely normal to be handed dates or food from a complete stranger, welcoming you to break your fast. There are places called “Mawa’ed el rahman” which literaly translates into “Tables of the mericful”, located almost everywhere across Cairo, you can always find a table to stop and eat a full meal at.

I’m still in the midst of soaking it all in, the multiple stimuli and visits with family & friends. In the next few days after Ramadan ends, during the celeberation of Eid el Fitr (Celeberation of the Feast) God willing, I’ll be heading out east to the Sinai Penensula to a place called Ananda with a group of friends. Scarcely placed deserted huts on the Red Sea, a first for me and after hearing so much about it from all my friends, I’m really looking forward to it.



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Hi, I'm Ibraheem Youssef
I'm a Creative,
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