To Cairo with Love 🌹

| Cairo 🇪🇬 |

For my new readers, I am newly married to a handsome Egyptian-American man who has taken me on a roller coaster ride of new cultural experiences. I must tell you this beforehand because it truly impacts the way I travel now and during my trip to Cairo, Egypt visiting his family I truly got to experience Cairo as a tourist and as a local. Because of this I am going to take you on a journey and give you some insight on traveling to Cairo, Egypt.

Cairo is a city that never sleeps. We landed in Cairo at 11pm at night, don’t worry if you’re flight gets in late as there are still taxis and tuk tuks (a bike taxi) available as the city of Cairo stays alive well into the wee hours of the morning. If you’re still hungry, want to wind down at a Shisha Lounge (hookah), go to a Jazz Club, frequent a bar, or shop at the many nights markets, you can still do those things and more after your arrival. If you arrive in the late evening as opposed to the aforementioned wee hours of the morning, I would recommend the following:

-Nile Dinner Cruise
-Sound and Light Show at the Giza Pyramids
-Cairo Old Market: Khan Al-Khalili Souk
-Hang out at Almaz (nightclub lounge)

We stayed at the Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa. It has a beautiful view of the Pyramids and is extremely close by. It has 4 restaurants, a spa, and an outdoor pool. It is also very affordable with prices at around 60 USD a night.

In the morning we went to go see the most well-known and major highlight for travelers to Cairo: The Pyramids of Giza. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world and still remains preserved. If you do not arrange this excursion with your hotel or purchase beforehand with a touring company, here are the costs to get your ticket upon arrival: You can buy your ticket at the entrance security desk/kiosk. Beware of your taxi driver taking you elsewhere to purchase your ticket, don’t bargain with them, just have them take you directly to the entrance gate.

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Ticket to enter the Pyramid complex: Egyptian Pounds 80 ~ USD 9
Entrance Inside The Great Pyramid: Egyptian Pounds 200 ~ USD 11
Entrance into 2nd or 3rd Pyramid: Egyptian Pounds 40 ~ USD 2
Great Pyramid (Pyramid of Khufu): Egyptian Pounds100 ~ USD 9
Meresankh III tomb: Egyptian Pounds 50 ~ USD 6

I thoroughly enjoyed the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, I had no idea what to really expect. We took a horse and carriage ride around the pyramids and then we rode a camel around the smaller pyramids. I found the archeological site to be fascinating and if you are into history and architecture, you will too. Nobody still knows how the pyramids were built and it is so interesting hearing all of the locals opinions on its construction. The question remains unanswered and it makes me even more curious and enchanted.

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The next stop was to visit some of my new family members and even though this is probably not something that would be on your itinerary, I learned quite a bit that would be useful for any traveler. Some of the phrases that the kids had me perfect that you should know upon arrival are:

No: la
Yes: naam
Please: min fadlak (m.) min fadlik (f.)
Thank you: shukran
Your Welcome: Ahlan beka
Sorry/Excuse Me: assef
Welcome: Marhaba
Goodbye: salam (peace)
My Name Is: esmi
What Is Your Name?: esmak eh? or Ma Esmok?
How Are You?: ez zayyak? (masc) ez zayyek? (fem)
Nice to Meet You Saadot belkak
I Don’t Understand: ana mish fahem
Do You Speak English?: int betetkalem inglizi?
Can You Help Me?: mumken tsaa’dni?
What Time Is It?: el-saa kam?

For my foodies, what is the point in traveling to a new destination and not trying the local cuisine? I was really excited about the opportunity to try Egyptian cuisine in Egypt at a family member’s house and I tried everything, even things I was skeptical about, like pigeon. Stuffed pigeon is a delicacy in Egypt and consists of whole pigeon stuff with rice and many different spices. Some other foods I had that I recommend you try upon your visit are:

-Kushari
– An assortment of grilled meats
– Sausage and liver sandwich
– Baladi Bread
-Fava beans and falafel

They also welcomed us with a delicious cake, celebrating my husband’s birthday and our new marriage. Egyptian birthday cakes are a little different than American cakes. You won’t find buttercream and whipped icing cakes, but more traditional cakes.

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Later that night we joined some more family members and went out for coffee, tea, and juice. If you are a fan of juicing, this is your time to have fresh juices galore. I was in juice heaven as I love juicing and fresh fruits and they had a plethora of smoothie and juice bars. Try quenching your thirst at Juice Me Up or City Drink!

For a full meal out on the town, try Sequoia for a diverse menu and shisha, they also serve alcohol in a place where many restaurants don’t. The views of the Nile are breathtaking and the setting is trendy and romantic. I am also a fan of Andrea, simply because I love chicken liver and the Kobeba and chicken liver are a must have there. Also, the atmosphere is laid back, colorful, and old school. Your kids can even take a donkey ride. Cool right?

I had a great time in Egypt’s sprawling capital, set on the Nile River and I look forward to going again. I have never experienced anything like it, the traffic the noise, the hustle & bustle, and the people will deluge you, so give yourself time to explore, relax, and wind down with a Shay bil na’na (mint tea) or a glass of sugarcane juice. I recommend on your visit you also do the following:
-Egyptian Museum
-Mosque of Muhammad Ali
-Al Azhar Park
-Tahrir Square

Remember, when you are ready to make your trip, Cairo is no Dubai, in fact, it can be dirty, it’s not glamorous, there are many pickpocketers and scammers waiting for a tourist to slip up, and the air quality is horrible. However, even with all of these unfavorable traits, it is still incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite places I’ve traveled to and if I were to recommend anything to you, it would be to give yourself time. You need time in Cairo for your visit to be efficient, productive, and somewhat foolproof.

Personally, having been able to enjoy a local and tourist experience was incredible. I loved meeting my new family members, eating authentic Egyptian cuisine in a real local Egyptian house, camel and horse riding at the Pyramids, and taking in all of that Vitamin D that the Egyptian heat and sun truly provide.

Do you love to travel and see yourself in Cairo?

 

 

Traveling As A New Muslim Convert

 

|First stop in ‘ Traveling as a New Muslim Convert’ chronicle ✈️ Ireland 🇮🇪  |

Ireland is for lushes but also non-drinkers too. As aforementioned, I am now living in a Muslim household and will be raising Muslim children and one of the things that is prohibited in Islam is alcohol. As enlightening as it is being a new Muslim convert, it is more difficult than you expect not being able to pick up my usual glass of wine while watching The Bachelorette (don’t judge), Insecure, or This Is Us. So when my job invited me to Ireland to celebrate my achievements for my successes in the past year all I could think about was how am I going to experience the TRUE Ireland. How am I going to go pub crawling? What about the touristy Guinness factory tours? I’m a massive globetrotter and I always pictured me going to Ireland and getting to be apart of the Irish drinking culture. As necessary as I thought it was to enjoy Ireland, it wasn’t.

Ireland is a romance novel readers dream. The ancient lore, doughty castles, and tower houses nestled in an island surrounded by the Atlantic are more picturesque than you could ever imagine. Not to mention, the mythological traditions, traditional music, Irish literature, & historic sites will keep you busy and enraptured in love, history and humor as well. We went on boat rides and toured the Dingle Peninsula, the Wild Atlantic Way, and went on a horse and buggy ride in the Gap of Dunloe. It was truly a Game of Thrones watchers’ wildest dreams. After a few days in the beautiful region of Shannon, I was sure that traveling as a new Muslim convert would be no big deal. But then we went to Dublin.

Dublin seemed to be all about pub crawling and that was not an option for me. Having my Muslim husband with me definitely helped me counter my disappointment in not being able to do the brewery experience and tasting of Irelands famous beer (Guinness) or even one of a ton of Irelands famous whiskeys. While my friends were out and about drinking it up, pub crawling, and singing karaoke to Irish songs with Dublin locals, I must admit I felt like I was missing out and I was doubting how truly adventurous my travels could be not being able to drink. I mean, after-all alcohol is a big part of many cultures and truly apart of some countries’ history. I came up with something better though, something much better. A SPA DAY. Dublin has so many amazing boutique spas to choose from and my husband and I spent an entire day at one and no longer had any FOMO of the Dublin pub experience. After all the hiking and exploring of the Shannon landscape and terrain it was well needed anyway.

Basically, Ireland isn’t just for lushes, it’s for non-drinkers too and I can’t wait to go again. So for all my Muslim brothers and sisters, don’t be hesitant to include Ireland in your travel destination plans or bucket list too!

Now that I’m expecting, I realize how dramatic I was being for a week in Ireland, when I definitely can’t partake now and neither can most women for 9 months at some point in their adult life.

I must say the difficulties of being a new Muslim convert aren’t just about not being able to drink but in Ireland I was able to see how different my trips would be moving forward. While leaving and headed to the airport I knew my new travels wouldn’t be any less adventurous BUT then we arrived in Greece…….(stay tuned)

 

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