So, the Sharp Family moved to Cairo, Egypt at the end of August. I’m still getting my head around this as prior to leaving London I had a lot of other things on my mind involving taking care of Sebastian. So now we are in Cairo. It happens like that. Life. And you don’t know what hit you until there you are working your way through something new.
Culture shock. I’m in it. It’s been awhile since I’ve lived in a hot polluted city. I guess I likened the experience to living in Bangkok before I arrived and let me tell you Cairo is no Bangkok. First off, there are not enough malls and air conditioning does not exist in every shop. The Metro is no Skytrain and although it seems to run well we find ourselves overheating each trip between downtown and Maadi, where our new flat is. Our new flat is no studio on Thong Lor. First of all, while I saw many cockroaches roaming the streets and alley ways of Bangkok, I did not see them in my flat, EVER. I cannot say the same for here as I chased them around the kitchen, bathroom and hallway. Not to mention the ones which seem to live in our refrigerator. Sidewalks in Bangkok had me tripping over my own feet endlessly, but at least they existed. While downtown there are some sidewalks, in Maadi it’s the roadside walking most of the way. Which brings me to the taxi’s. Oh they are cheap here like in Bangkok, but they are not shiny and new and they certainly are not air conditioned. Think black and white painted ‘muscle cars’ from the 70’s in America. Each equipped with a loud horn that seems to be honking relentlessly, no matter what. Turn the radio on, honk. See people walking, hong. Turn, honk. Stop, honk. Go, honk. While Cairo is no Bangkok, they do share high temperatures and insane air pollution levels.
It’s impossible to even compare Cairo to London. When you leave a city, you only remember the good things. So right now I can only see a big green place in my mind when I think about living in London. I think about the parks Sebastian and I spent our afternoons walking though. I don’t recall how bored I got of those parks by the end of the summer living in South London. (There is no place like Hackney, it must be said. Ahh. The good ole’ days.) I don’t recall the grey skies when I search through constant brown haze hovering over the city buildings and eventually see a bright blue Cairo sky. I don’t recall the layers of clothing Sebastian had to be put in before heading out in London when I am slathering him with sun screen. I do recall wearing long pants because I was cold and not because I was trying to dress conservatively in the SWEALTERING heat. I recall the unlimited, high speed internet I had ALL THE TIME while I am counting the minutes every time I log onto the internet here. The connection slowing to a crawl at times. All making it impossible to post pictures of my gorgeous little son who is now four months old and spending his days smiling when he’s not taking a respite from the heat and sleeping. I recall the old buildings that were clean and even the ones that had turned a bit gray over the years which do not compare with the brownness of every building there ever was or is in Cairo.
It’s true, someday I might paint a relaxed and lovely picture of my life here in Cairo, today is not that day. In fact, this week is not that week either. And I’m done pretending it is. I’m just working on accepting it as it is. Thank God for a wonderful husband and son.