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To learn Arabic and Arabic calligraphy, to ride my bike from Istanbul to Trabzon
I am taking a break from my previous life as a corporate slave in Washington, DC and learning Arabic in Cairo, Egypt. I teach English the rest of the time to pay for rent and ful and taameyya. I like to tell stories and to collect stories from others. I love reading and hearing poetry. I enjoy music. I like to learn about new cultures and new people.
Take the road less traveled.
Helpful advice to visitors:
As of January 2018, the Egyptian visa is VISA ON ARRIVAL good for 30 days ie $25 (for most nationalities) to the guy at the Bank counter before you reach Passport Control.
There's even a bus to downtown for a few LE. Take the perimeter shuttle for a few minutes to the airport bus station, where you can catch a bus to Ramses train station, which connects to the metro system.
Things to do in Cairo:
There are an endless number of things to do and see here. So, first off, I’ll start with the Must-see:
Pyramids of Giza. Best to visit in the early morning (open 8am-4pm), The site is about 45 min away from downtown, but not hard to get to at all.
Metro to Midan Giza, cross street, take a microbus to the end of the street for about 2-3LE, walk 10 minutes to the pyramids.
When you approach the ticket office at the top of the hill, do NOT stop for anyone, except for security. There are some idiot camel people who will try to divert you guys onto the side, lie to you that the ticket office is far and closed and will ask for your money to first take their camels, then they'll get your tickets for you. A waste of time!
If you do take a camel ride, they will offer you 200LE for an hour. The real price is 50LE - 75 LE for 30 minutes or so.
The ticket is 80LE to enter the grounds. Another 300LE for the large pyramid. 40LE for the middle one (currently closed), and 40LE for the small. (They take only the Int'l student card only here for a 50% discount!) The views are all the same inside--an empty chamber. I recommend the mid or small ones as they do not require that much climbing.
Once the first man rips your tickets, put them in your pockets because another shyster will come to you soon and ask for your tickets, will hold onto them until you've agreed to ride his camel / horses. Ignore him and just walk to the pyramid.
At the pyramid, you'll encounter "security" men who tell you not to use your cameras inside. However, once he takes you inside, he will ask for your cameras to take pictures of you and family and then ask for a large tip. If you offer him 5 or 10LE, he'll look at you and say something like, "if you want to give me just 10LE, don't give me anything at all." Follow his advice and keep your money and don't give him anything. He and the other security guys are in on the scam.
When you're done, you will exit Sphinx side. There are microbuses that take you back to Midan giza metro station for 5+LE each.
-Egyptian Museum (3-4 hours)
Cost: 100LE, but 50LE with a student ID. Officially, they accept only the International Student ID, but sometimes, they'll let you in with any student ID.
Mummy Room: 100LE (well-worth seeing!) Here, I think you need an Int’l student ID to get the 50% discount.
-Al-Azhar Park: a few minutes away from the Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar, at the top of the hill. A wonderful escape from the noise and pollution of the city. Very clean! You can do a picnic / group visit with some friends an hour or 2 before sunset. You can hear the numerous Ithaan, or calls to prayer here. It’s surreal!
Take the metro to Attaba, then a microbus up to Hussein for 1.5LE, then walk up or take a Taxi. Or just take a taxi directly there from the Attaba area for about 10-20LE. Use the meter.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
I try to show visitors my city when possible.
Cairo, Egypt (2009): Lee
Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Yanbu (12/2013): Yassin
Ankara, Turkey (4/2014): Ramzi, Sarah
Bursa, Turkey (6/2014): Yuhan, Aykut
Antep, Turkey (7/2014): Serkan
Istanbul, Turkey (8/2014): Abdulkadir
Tanta, Egypt (3/2015): Tareq
Karasu, Turkey (8/2016): Ugur
Islam, US-Egypt Relations, US-China relations, US-Turkey relations, Buddhism, learning Hadeeth. Learning new languages, walking interesting neighborhoods, searching for the local food, etymology, poetry, lentils
Music, Movies, and Books
Books: Life and Death in Shanghai, by Nien Cheng.
The Great War for Civilization, by Robert Fiske.
Egypt on the Brink, Tarek Osman.
The Harafish, Naguib Mahfouz.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
I saw 4 total strangers help to escort a blind man in the metro, one after the other, consecutively within 5 minutes. This incident really impressed me about Cairo and the people of this country. It showed a strong community and that people still care for each other, despite the many problems.
Teach, Learn, Share
I can teach English, Chinese, and basic Arabic. I want to learn the Oud. I love to cook, though I am not a great cook. If you know a good meal, please share with me your recipe!
What I Can Share with Hosts
My stories and sense of humor, tea
Countries I’ve Visited
Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Macao, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
Countries I’ve Lived In
China, Egypt, Turkey, United States