Nasr City: the new neighborhood

During the first days walking along Mustafa el Nahaz, the main avenue parallel to my apartment, I counted around 10 to 20 furniture stores in just four blocks, as well as 15 pharmacies. My roommates and I found these characteristics very peculiar.

Thanks to a few established roommates, the new interns and I quickly learned where we could buy Wi-Fi, an Egyptian SIM card near our apartment, and basic groceries.

Five minutes away, a local bakery makes fresh cookies and pastries every day; a falafel stand we have embraced has a 1.50 LE (22 US cents) falafel sandwich diet; and a fruit stand sells 1 kilo of oranges for about 2 LE (30 cents).

Mustafa el Nahaz is very crowded with non-stop traffic, jaywalkers and city noise. In the middle of the avenue, there is an abandoned railroad track now filled with waste or what remains of a few piles of burned trash. The air is mostly made up of car smoke or something burning at a near distance.

Every block is full of apartments with several businesses on the first floor, but depending on the building, the sidewalk´s height may vary. Therefore, walking along the avenue is like being on a small urban hiking trail.

Crossing the street here, or anywhere in Cairo, is truly a suicidal act about which I have become quite expert. Cars rarely stop due to the fact that traffic signs and lights do not exist. So, I have learned a few things about crossing a street:

  1. Wait a few seconds for a distracted driver going slower than the others — and run!
  2. If the traffic never stops, then just cross the street with your hand up toward the incoming traffic. Cars will eventually stop to let you walk.
  3. Don´t think about traffic too much; drivers seem to be used to people being so close to their cars that I don´t think I will get run over anytime soon.

So, just do it!

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