Landing in Cairo was certainly an interesting experience. I had never travelled outside the United States before (other than a few places by car in Canada, along the border – Windsor, Niagara Falls and Toronto), nor had I travelled alone before. At all. I had $55 with me — I had brought $60 (yes, I was incredibly broke) and spent $5 already at a Starbucks in the Amman airport in Jordan — and hadn’t thought about visas. Luckily, I made it out, and Bilal and Mitch were waiting for me with a wonderful gang of geeks… some of the members of the Cairo Hackerspace, Tarek Omar and Ahmed Tohamy.
We caught a cab out to the suburb of 16th October — yes, that is the name of the city — to stay with Bilal’s cousin, No’man. No’man is an Iraqi refugee who is living in October and works at a plastics factory near Alexandria. On the way, we stopped at a small restaurant and had something that was quite new to us. Its name is koshari, and it is a wonderful food that fed us for nearly the entire trip. Mitch is essentially vegan, and I’m vegetarian, and it’s the most common food in Cairo, so that worked wonderfully for us. It’s made of spaghetti, macaroni, rice, lentils, and caramelized onions, and covered in a tomato broth, with lemon garlic sauce and hot sauce on the side.
Upon arriving at No’man’s place, we were all just happy to see beds (and incredibly happy to eat). We went to a net cafe, got some sleep, and then were introduced to some more Egyptian food in the morning, in the form of foul, or crushed fava beans. We then set out to explore the city of October.
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