Living in Cairo Resources
The Practical Guide by Claire E. Francy (AUC Press, 2003). A superb guidebook that gives all the inside information you need for a long term stay;
Nayra Atiya (AUC Press, 1982). Five Egyptian women tell their stories. Wonderfully informative;
Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians by E.W. Lane. This classic interpretation of the people and culture of Egypt is still very informative;
Guide to Egypt. Excellent for short-term visitors.
Finding an Apartment: Consult Cairo (listed above). Study up on the different residential areas of Cairo and decide which neighborhood you might like to live in. Abdin (cheapest), Dokki and
Mohandiseen (moderately priced) have the fewest foreigners. Then go to that neighborhood with an Arabic-speaking friend to ask the bowwabs (doorkeepers/concierges) of the apartment buildings for one that suits you.
Also check the accommodation notice boards at the AUC (American Univ. in Cairo) and at the British
Council. These could turn up more reliable places but for higher rents.
Using Public Transport: You will feel at home in Cairo if you learn the public transit system and resist using taxis. The three commonest forms are buses, minibuses, and microbuses.
Buses are the cheapest (five to 10 cents per trip); starting from various terminals in the city center, travel everywhere throughout the metropolis. Men enter through the rear door, women by the front; all passengers
exit from the front. Tickets are bought from the conductor on board.
Minibuses are more expensive and more comfortable than buses because no standing is allowed. They ply fixed routes between their own terminals.
Microbuses are smaller than minibuses but hold as many passengers as possible. They follow prescribed routes and charge around like demented bulls through the heavy traffic, stopping anywhere and everywhere
to squeeze passengers in or out. Fares range from five to 20 cents.
Studying Arabic: The options are a private tutor, a language school, self-study, or some combination. Inquire about a private tutor at the schools, at the various Western cultural centers (e.g.,
British Council, Goethe Institute), or at AUC. After interviewing a few and checking their credentials and teaching style, choose the one you click with best and design an
individual study program. The cost of an experienced tutor is $11-$13 per hour.
At a school the class setting is more formal, but the teaching resources are better. An intensive course (three hours per day, four days per week) at a school may cost about $200 per month. Among the formal
schools are: ILI and Kalimat (both in Mohandiseen), Fajr Center,
or see TransitionsAbroad.com's Language Schools in Egypt.