So on our first weekend here, which is Friday and Saturday as we follow the local workweek of Sunday through Thursday, we decided to explore the neighborhood of Zamalek, where our permanent housing will be starting in July. Ron had been hoping to get housing here as it’s closer to work, and in a more “downtown” area. Most people with kids try to live in Maadi, as it’s close to the international schools and closer to the commissary (though you still have to drive there). But Zamalek is full of single-folk and couples with no kids, and they don’t discriminate against those with felines. (Unfortunately, there are also tons of stray felines milling about as well, though I will admit that they seem quite content. However, in comparing them to Chuckles and Ricky, they are about a third to a quarter of their size! I now see what my friend's step-daughter, Matilde, was talking about when she referred to the "Fat American Cats." This is a picture of an orange-boy in the courtyard of our new home.)
Zamalek is actually an island, located in downtown Cairo, in the middle of the Nile. One website described it as, “… a thriving center for middle and upper class Egyptians, along with foreign dignitaries (there are more embassies in Zamalek than any other district of Cairo) and many tourists. It remains one of the most pleasant areas of Cairo. Indeed, it is Cairo's most fashionable residential district where one will find the BMW's and Mercedes of rich Egyptians, supermarkets that sell sushi or French pastries and always an upbeat take on Egyptian life.” Okay, so with our arrival, it may be less of a “most fashionable residential district,” but we’ll do our best not to affect it too much.
This outing was really an opportunity for me to see our potential new home for the next several years. I say potential, because had I really not felt comfortable there or just not “liked” it, we probably could have opted for other housing. However, I really liked it. It’s very tree-ey, lots of character in the architecture (see picture of tree-ey street with nice buildings), walkable, and very livable (and I didn’t find it too fashionably-threatening). It’s definitely a city, but I’ll finally get to live out my teenage dream of living in NYC… just 5,621 miles to the east (good ole, Wikipedia).