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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone

I am travelling to Cairo next week for a final interview for a job with a multinational in Cairo . I am an experienced ex-pat having lived and worked in several countries so i am not too worried about day to day practicalities but I would like a better feel for the current situation in Egypt from people on the ground because i know newspaper reports can give a false impression

1 How safe is Cairo nowadays. are demonstrations limited to known areas which can be avoided ?

2 What effect has the growth of political Islam had on daily life has an expat ? Do you expect this to change after the current elections

3. I will be staying in in Cairo for a few days before the interview. Where should i go to get a feel for the place and maybe meet some people who could tell me more.


Thanks for your help


Ben
 

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Hi Ben. Welcome to the forum

1. Demos tend to occur in central Cairo, where most of the government/official buildings are, but are not necessarily limited to one particular area. Also you need to bear in mind general security levels have slid in the last year and half . and crime -including violent incidents- are most definitely on the rise.

2. I can only speak for myself, my life has not been affected by "political Islam". Nobody knows what will happen after the presidential elections, it's wide open right now.

3. Zamalek, Maadi and New Cairo are all popular areas with expats. I myself don't frequent expat haunts but other posters may be able to point you in the right direction.

Where in Cairo will your job be based?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Aykalam

That is useful

The company is based in Zamalek my impression from the company is that it is a commercial area. Is it also a residential or is it more somewhere with restaurants etc where you would meet up rather than live?

How bad is the level of violent crime now is it worse than the rougher areas of London for example? Are expatriates being specifically targeted?


Ben
 

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My view is still that it is much safer than London
But not as safe as it was.

Expats are not targeted specifically - some rich people are and if you are expat you may therefore been seen as rich. I drive a sensible inconspicuous car and have had no problems

My view is if you work in Zamalek then live there. Saves hours of commuting

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Hello Everyone

I am travelling to Cairo next week for a final interview for a job with a multinational in Cairo . I am an experienced ex-pat having lived and worked in several countries so i am not too worried about day to day practicalities but I would like a better feel for the current situation in Egypt from people on the ground because i know newspaper reports can give a false impression

1 How safe is Cairo nowadays. are demonstrations limited to known areas which can be avoided ?

2 What effect has the growth of political Islam had on daily life has an expat ? Do you expect this to change after the current elections

3. I will be staying in in Cairo for a few days before the interview. Where should i go to get a feel for the place and maybe meet some people who could tell me more.


Hello and welcome to the forum.

Demonstrations tend to be in certain locations, ie Midan Tahrir.. and are relatively easy to avoid, more so if you live and work in Zamalek.. you need never leave the island:D



Political Islam has had no knock on effect for me however this may all change.. no one knows what the future holds, but as a man it wont really make much difference to your life,


I would guess you will be staying in the Marriot in Zamalek which is pretty handy for meeting lots of expats.. a short walk will take you to La Bodega, Deals, Aubergines, pub 28 , 5 bells. where you will get a feel for life as an expat or middle class Egyptian,
 

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Thanks Aykalam

That is useful

The company is based in Zamalek my impression from the company is that it is a commercial area. Is it also a residential or is it more somewhere with restaurants etc where you would meet up rather than live?

How bad is the level of violent crime now is it worse than the rougher areas of London for example? Are expatriates being specifically targeted?


Ben


Zamalek is a great place to live..it has everything you will need, btw Zamalek is an area on the island of Gezira and Gezira means island in Arabic, if you have a young family you might want to live in Maadi which is more family friendly. All areas are getting more and more dirty.. if you have never been to Egypt before you will be shocked at the rubbish laying around..

Crime is certainly rising but my opinion is that crime was always as high as in any city but was never included in the stats, trying to report a crime here is a nightmare and many simpley dont bother, you are as safe here as anywhere else.
 

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How bad is the level of violent crime now is it worse than the rougher areas of London for example? Are expatriates being specifically targeted?


Ben
Most crimes are crimes of opportunity, such as a bag snatching or stick-up by a taxi. Egypt is increasingly awash in weapons post-revolution, so the level of violence is going up, particularly outside the city. Of course, most of these crimes do not affect expats. The point is, with continued economic deterioration, overall crime has increased.

Cairo is safe when compared to other African cities, but I don't think you could seriously compare it to London.

If you can get yourself an apartment in a good area with proper security (ie. guard posted 24/7, video camera at the entrance, secure entry), and also a good driver if available, you'll be just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you can get yourself an apartment in a good area with proper security (ie. guard posted 24/7, video camera at the entrance, secure entry), and also a good driver if available, you'll be just fine.
Thanks Canuck

Why are you suggesting a driver ? What would I be risking by driving myself?

Would it be unsafe to walk round Zamalek on foot ?

Ben
 

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Driver v driving is a interesting question

Driver benefits
no need to worry about directions / getting lost
Can drop you outside - no parking issues
Great for parties etc - (you can have a drink)
Can sit outside all day waiting

Driving benefits
Quick simple
You can drive anytime 24 hours
Can leave when you want rather than prearranged time
Don't have to prearrange driver

We live in rehab so a quick trip to the shops or the JW or the kids school is needed.

I have a car that I drive and also have a driver to call on whenever I need him. He will either drive my car or one if the other cars
We also have a great local private hire (taxi) firm in rehab

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Thanks Canuck

Why are you suggesting a driver ? What would I be risking by driving myself?

Would it be unsafe to walk round Zamalek on foot ?

Ben


Certainly not.. I wander around Zamalek all the time. You can walk from one end of the island to the other in thirty minutes, so everywhere is walkable, everything and anything can be delivered, even the shop below you will think nothing if you phone down and ask them to deliver a mars bar. Taxis are cheap and pretty reliable as long as you don't let on your new in town, just don't get into conversation pretend you know where you are going even if you don't.
Car and driver is usually part of the expat package.
You do not need to arrange for them to pick you up at a certain time, if they take you somewhere they will wait however it is good manner to send them out some food/drink or at least give them a couple of pounds to get a cuppa and a sandwich. Egyptians are brilliant at sleeping so he will sleep until you bang on the window.
 

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Thanks Canuck

Why are you suggesting a driver ? What would I be risking by driving myself?

Would it be unsafe to walk round Zamalek on foot ?

Ben
The risk is not in the driving, it is when you get involved in an accident. Then you either can speak Arabic, and have a good understanding on how it goes down, or, you have a local driver. Nothing to do with your ability to drive...however, it took me a couple months to really get the hang of it, as you need to expect anything to come from anywhere...:eek: It is not unsafe to walk around in Zamalek, but watch out for open holes and Egyptian drivers. There are no pedestrian pavements.:)
 

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I have been living in Egypt for almost thirteen years, the last five years also in Cairo, I drive around Cairo myself, we don't have a driver.
I haven't made any accidents. One time a stupid guy reversed in my car, our insurance paid for that. I have driven 70k in almost three years, part of that is driving to Hurghada and back.
But indeed, you have to expect anything from anywhere, as Whitedesert said!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everyone this is really useful information!

I dont think a driver is part of my package

How would it work if i arranged one privately . Do you buy the car and pay the driver or do you hire a driver with his own car?

How much more would it cost than just running a car and driving myself

Is it possible to hire a driver plus car just for a day or two when you need one rather than having one on call permanently ?


Thanks

Ben
 

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I cannot answer all your questions, but my wife uses a specific taxi - decent guy, speaks English well, clean air conditioned car and available to take you by arrangment to a specific place and back, or you get him for the day. She has two identified - (in case one is not available), and that works for her, as I would not allow her to drive in Egypt. You can lease a car with a driver monthly, and I suspect that may cost as much as 4000 EGP per month. I have a company car and driver so dont exactly know how that works.:)
 

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but my wife uses a specific taxi ..... as I would not allow her to drive in Egypt.
Thankfully my husband (Egyptian) lets me drive my own car. But when we are together, he prefers to drive himself. I myself don't like to go by taxi.

For the topic starter: if you work in Zamalek and live there than you can use a white taxi if you want to go somewhere further away.
Our daughter, 15, takes sometimes a taxi by herself and haven't faced any problems till now, so it should be okay for a foreign man.
 

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Thanks everyone this is really useful information!

I dont think a driver is part of my package

How would it work if i arranged one privately . Do you buy the car and pay the driver or do you hire a driver with his own car?

How much more would it cost than just running a car and driving myself

Is it possible to hire a driver plus car just for a day or two when you need one rather than having one on call permanently ?


Thanks

Ben


You wont need a car if you are living and working on the island, if and when you need a car there are always options.
You can actually negotiate with a taxi driver and hire him and his cab for the day/night.
I know someone who takes a metered cab to the golf course and gets the taxi driver to wait for him.

An example... a taxi from the airport to Zamalek should cost no more than 50 egyptian pounds taxi fares are cheap and will not break your bank.

maiden
 
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