Thursday, 23 January 2014


Tagamo, Egypt: Update

Hi friends!

Well, I am almost all up to date with my blog posts – hurrah!! I have been hanging out for exactly a week in Katameya, which is an area in Tagamo which is located between Ma’adi and the Cairo airport.

Katameya is a much quieter area compared to where my Momster was living in Ma’adi, and there are not as many expats either.

Which means we are a bit of an anomaly wherever we go – grocery shopping, walking down the street, talking to our new landlady (who only knows how to say ‘sit’ in English) – it’s all an adventure(!!)

I was a bit sad to be leaving the hustle and bustle of Ma’adi, where you have access to everything you want either in walking distance or after a $1 taxi ride, but I have really enjoyed my time in Tagamo so far. We are close to Seven Stars Mall, where there are a bunch of market stalls selling falafel, koshary, fruits and veggies.

 Loves it!

We are starting to get acquainted with the area, which is good since it is a nightmare trying to explain where we live to taxi or delivery men. I’m getting very good with Arabic directions ;)

Yameen = right, shamell = left, alatool = straight, hanakoyse = here is good (let me out!)

I (not so secretly) wish that I knew more Arabic, but I’m picking up some good vocab as I go along in daily life here. Makes everything much easier(!!)

Anywho, here is a whole medley of things/places that I have been to recently:

Katameya Heights Golf Course

We went for a tour at the Katameya Heights Golf Course, which my Momster wants to join. And for obvious reasons: it is seriously the nicest Golf Course I have ever seen. It should really be called a resort – it’s like a little piece of finely manicured heaven.

The facilities are state-of-the-art, the club house is decked out, and the restaurants surround a beautiful in-ground pool.

Fingers crossed she gets a membership before I leave Egypt – I wouldn’t mind hanging out here, living the high life, for a bit ;)

6th October City

A friend of ours, who helped my Mom and Sherri find their apartment, took me to 6th October City, which is essentially like Tagamo only on the other side of the old part of Cairo. It is an up-and-coming area, and has tons of new development happening. We went to a sweet restaurant, which had the most attentive shisha guys ever – I think they switched our coals every five minutes.

At one point, the power went off, which hasn’t happened as often as I assumed that it would. These things happen ;)

Mo’otem (Mountain)

After dinner, we went to the most amazing look-out in Mo’otem, which (I think) means mountain. It is a mountain area that overlooks the old part of Cairo, Ring Road, Corniche along the Nile River, Ma’adi on the other side of the Nile, and Tagamo off to the left, and then Giza (as in the Pyramids of Giza) and 6th October City straight ahead.

It was a bit too hazy out, so we weren’t able to see the pyramids – they supposedly have an awesome light show on them at night. We hung out for a bit and order some fresh lemon – an amazing drink that I am a little bit obsessed with, which is kind of like fresh lemonade back home only with about double the amount of sugar. All of a sudden, we saw fireworks go off to the right. I asked if this happened often, but he said that he had never seen them from up here before – he grew up in Mo’otem, so I believed him.

We ended up seeing 7 separate shows of fireworks go off within the span of about half an hour, it was so cool! It was a Friday, which is like our Saturday back home (weekends here are Friday and Saturday as opposed to Saturday and Sunday), so it was probably for wedding celebrations. I guess it has become a big thing ever since the revolution, when everyone started setting of fireworks for every occasion. We usually hear mini fireworks go off at night randomly. The sound always scares me.

Ma’adi Visits

We went back to Ma’adi last weekend with my little sister Emily, who was studying at a friends’ place there, so my Momster and I went along for the ride.

We had lunch at a cute little restaurant called Pistachio on Road 84, and then went grocery shopping on Road 7.

It’s so strange: it seems so natural now to be walking around Ma’adi, even on Road 7, where not a lot of expats go. I remember the first time that I went walking around with my Mom and found it so overwhelming – now it is just kind of like second nature to be constantly looking around to make sure a car isn’t coming down the street the wrong way, I know my Arabic numbers now so I can haggle a bit better with the people selling things on the street, and I guess I have gotten a bit more used to everyone staring at me like I have five heads ;)

City Stars Mall & VIP Cinema

I went to City Stars Mall, and was completely blown away. It is pretty much the craziest mall that I’ve ever seen – it is completely made out of white marble, and is GINORMOUS. For serious. There are a ridiculous amount of shop in that place. It’s so big that it has two phases.

I ended up going to an amazingly delicious Lebanese restaurant. I don’t remember the name (I know, I’m the worst) but it was right across from the VIP cinema in City Stars Mall. If ever you are in the area, hit it up!

Turns out some Egyptians love going to the movie theatre at 1am. Personally, I think it’s a bit crazy to go to a movie at that time, but I’ll try anything once ;)

So, after spending an eternity at the Lebanese restaurant with a feast fit for kings (we took the leftovers to go, which we then gave to someone on the street – it’s what most people do here if they can afford to do it) and then a cute little shisha café, we went over to the VIP cinema.

Guys. They have to introduce this to Canada. I mean really. It was the best movie experience I have ever had in my entire life.

It is a smaller cinema filled with legit lazy boys, which recline almost into a beautifully comfortable bed, with personal side tables. There are about 10 rows with 4 lazy boys on either side of the aisle. And there is a bell boy with a flashlight who leads you to your seat.

To make everything that much better, there is intermission. For serious. Smartest thing ever! You can go out to use the loo, fill-up on popcorn, have a smoke break (inside the cinema, I might add*). It’s pure genius. I saw ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, which was actually a very funny movie.

The strangest thing about the whole experience was coming out of the movie theater at about 3:30 in the morning – it was ghost town. Wish I had my camera on me, it was so surreal!

*Note: I have noticed that quite a lot of people smoke cigarettes in Egypt, from what I’ve seen at least. Generally people don’t smoke inside, but I have seen a few people light up wherever they want – inside restaurants, in the airport, in the mall, in the lobby of the cinema…makes me appreciate the smoking bylaws back at home.

Overall, I have been loving life in Katameya – enjoying getting to know a new area of New Cairo, meeting new people, trying new things. I’m just getting my overnight pack together for this weekend – my little sister Emily and I are heading to Hurghada for a diving excursion, so excited!!

I will try not to go so long without posting anything again, it takes a while to catch myself up! Slow and steady wins the race ;)

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