On Friday morning, we departed for our four-month journey in Cairo, Egypt and beyond. We flew to NYC and then straight on to Cairo. The flights were long, but we pretty much have the best baby ever (who will be referred to as Amir from here on out). He slept both of the flights, two hours on the four-hour flight and at least eight on the eleven-hour one (despite the fact that the baby in front of us SCREAMED for those eight hours plus some, I couldn't believe how Amir slept through it). I talked with the mom in front of us for a little bit, she was Egyptian but lived in San Diego, and she kept asking me if I was scared to take my baby to Egypt. I told her no, and she said she was terrified because her baby was born in the United States. She also told me that I shouldn't hold my baby by his hands and let him bounce. Apparent Egyptians are very protective of their babies, they rarely take them outside and you never tell them their baby is cute because it invites the "evil eye" due to your jealousy. It doesn't stop them from saying oogling your baby though. Amir gets CONSTANT attention when we're out, beginning with the passport control men who surrounded us and started kissing him and grabbing his hands and holding them. Strangers have reached out and held him, everyone smiles and coos and calls out to us. You would think they had never seen a baby before, but I guess it's not common for a baby to be out and about (and so darn cute).
On the plane:
We got into Cairo in the afternoon and took a bus to the hotel we're staying in for the week while we find apartments. The hotel is nice enough, right now it smells like cigarette smoke because we turned the air on, but it's fine. I'm slightly more paranoid about germs here, I probably should have bought more antibacterial wet wipes because we are going through them really fast.
My observations about Cairo thusfar:
1. It's dirty. There is garbage everywhere, all over the sidewalks.
2. It smells. The market we went to today was SO STINKY. It smelled like a rotten-fish-urine-raw-meat kind of fragrance. There were weasels running around at our feet. The vegetables looked delicious. There were huge barrels of every kind of lentil you could imagine, spices, rices, pasta, everything. I can't wait to actually start buying food when we move in and have a kitchen.
3. There are stray cats everywhere, they are scrawny and live in the garbage.
4. The food is amazing, and so cheap! There are shwarma street vendors all over that sell these pitas full of beans, falafel, baba ghannoush, etc. that sell for one pound (which is like 20 cents).
That's pretty much all my observations. So far, so good. I can't wait to really start seeing more and experiencing all that Cairo has to offer after I get used to the dirt and the smells. But for now, I must attend to my baby because my husband fell asleep. There will be much more where this came from...