Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Week in Cairo

We have been in Cairo for one week and what a week it's been.  There were some bumps in the road, sometimes big bumps, but overall, things have been great.   We found an apartment in a wonderful neighborhood minutes away from the metro, signed a lease, and found a terrific school program for Cameron ... all in one week!

Here are some highlights of the whirlwind week:

We arrived in the middle of the night on 8/19 and were happy to see the driver from the American University in Cairo shuttle waiting for us outside of the customs holding a sign with my name.  We had booked a ride with the shuttle online through the university and were delighted to see that it worked.  But he had a small car that wouldn't fit three people plus their luggage so anther vehicle was lined up which took us to our hotel.   Despite it being 2am, the roads were busy and many people were walking in the streets.   (It's Ramadan season right now for Muslims which means fasting all day, then "breakfast" after sundown, then the rest of the meals through the night.)  We collapsed in our room once we arrived.  Since it took us two days to arrive in Cairo (with an all-day layover in London), we were exhausted.

We were pleased to wake up the next morning to see we had a great view of the city and the Nile from our room.    Our hotel is in a lovely part of Cairo called Zamelek which is an island.   We cross the Nile four times a day as we go and come from the metro during apartment and school searches.  Here's one night photo I took from one taxi and also a photo of one of the pair of lions who guard the bridge over the Nile.

We spent our first day in Cairo finding my school (American University in Cairo, AUC for short) and the school we'd thought Cameron was going to go to, the British International School in New Cairo (which is 10 minutes from my school).   We'd thought we would live in New Cairo since it would be close to both schools, but it turned out to be too remote, especially without a car.  Most of New Cairo is being built from the ground up, intermingled with arid open land.  Many of the apartments in these half finished buildings are already sold.  Jeff talked to someone who said they had purchased an apartment in New Cairo as a business investment and it would be finished in 2012.  (I'm going to try to post a couple photos I took of New Cairo in another posting since I wasn't able to upload them on this posting.)

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