Sunday, 11 December 2016 16:36

One day at a time

Cairo, chaotic yet charming Cairo, chaotic yet charming

I have recently returned from another long weekend in one of my favourite cities – Cairo. Dusty and noisy and chaotic, to me it still has something very charming. I find its hustle and bustle exhilarating.

And just as it was during my last trip there several months ago, I felt completely safe. I even found there were quite a few tourists around. True, I was generally in the ‘protective’ company of local friends, but people were, for the most part, kind and funny and cheerful when they had every reason to be anything but.

On the day of my arrival, the government had decided to float the Egyptian pound, a mechanism by which a currency’s value is allowed to fluctuate in response to foreign-exchange market mechanisms, rather than being fixed by the country’s national bank.

I had found the exchange rate before I left to the airport to be 10 EGP for a euro. When I went to change money at Cairo’s airport a few hours later, it was 15 EGP to the euro. True, that was good for me – “Go shopping!” said one friend on Facebook – but I felt bad for the people of Egypt.

I know from my friends there, that life has been getting increasingly difficult and this was yet another blow to their spending power. The tellers at the windows of the airport’s banks were visibly stressed, nervous, shouting… but not the people in the street. Life for them just went on.
The restaurants, street cafes and shisha bars were all heaving on that Thursday night, and even my friend was laughing: “I don’t think there will be any sort of trouble in the near future, look at our people!”

She did translate on several occasions that the taxi drivers were apologising that they will have to charge 5 pounds more than the meter indicated, as they could not be sure at what price they would next buy fuel.

The world for us, away from Egypt, may be going mad in a different, no less unsettling and possibly more far-reaching way, but at least we have a bit more certainty in our daily lives. And while it does sound like one of those spiritual social media posts to ‘take one day at a time’, it’s nice to know what we will be able to afford the next day.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of November 18th 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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