1. Sheep and goats chill out on roofs
2. Cars and goats share the highway
3. Everyone smokes shisha
Old and young, in cafes, on the streets, in back alleys… And no one seems to share, because it’s so bloody cheap.
4. Egyptians stuff rice in everything
Stuffed pigeons, stuffed wine leaves, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed cabbages, stuffed – you get the idea.
5. The income gap is pretty extreme
You’ll see the really rich and you’ll see the very poor, but the middle income group is hard to come by.
6. It’s really common for upper-class Egyptians to own a nice summer home somewhere by the beach
There is no middle-class in Egypt, there is the rich and the poor. For a look into the lives of the upper-class and lower-class, read my latest story on Discovering Egypt: The Rich, The Poor And The Resilient.
7. They have some of the most persistent, ruthless and sly touts
A few invited me to take photos of them, and then extended their hand out to me, expecting a tip. Also, look out for the guy who kindly offers you a flashlight in the tomb, and the guy who eagerly decodes the paintings for you.
8. When they are not after your money, the locals are sincerely nice and friendly
9. They love Asians
Me, a Chinese girl in Egypt? Photos, questions, and more photo requests, I was a rock star.
10. The Pyramids of Giza are cool, but a tad bit overrated.
It’s majestic, I know. But trust me when I say the awe doesn’t last too long.
It is located near the city, aggressive touts will tail you until you ride their camel, and it’s really just a dark empty space inside. Go, but don’t expect too much.
11. Continuing with our theme of overrated tourist destinations, the Sphinx is the tiniest damn thing
12. The Egyptian Museum, and the Valley of the Kings and Queens are mind-blowing
Over 120,000 treasures unearthed from the Pyramids and tombs are stored in the Egyptian Museum that has been filled to the brim. The colours and stories of paintings in the tombs in the valleys are so vivid, your simple human brain will go “wow” a million times and more.
13. Tahrir Square? It’s literally a small roundabout in the middle of a street
The way the media made it up to be, you’d expect it to be a tad bit bigger.
14. Parks and greenery are very hard to come by in Cairo
People would set up chairs to hang out by the side of a busy highway in what little greenery they have. The only proper park I went to, Al Azhar Park in Cairo, required an entry fee.
15. Someone turned up the saturation of the colours of the Red Sea
It’s so insanely vivid and beautiful, it’s surreal.
16. Shopping can be really cheap
Just try not to get ripped off.
17. The Nile River is not exactly the cleanest thing
Dead cows have been seen floating there.
18. But, you can still fish at the Nile River
Just make sure you don’t fish a dead cow.
19. The sunsets are intense
20. The mosques are breathtaking, peaceful, and blissfully tout-free
If you see a climbable minaret, climb it.
21. When it’s not too hazy, the triangular silhouette of the Pyramids against the square boxes of the Cairo skyline is a sight to behold
In retrospect, the Pyramids are more majestic from afar than they are up close.
22. They didn’t just mummify humans, they mummified pets and animals as well
23. And, they have pretty good beer.
But what do I know about beer? Anything tastes good on a hot Egyptian summer day.
And there you go, an honest observation of Egypt from fresh Malaysian eyes. I gotta say, Egypt was a very, very fascinating country to visit. I will definitely return for more surprises, and to feel like a rock star again.