Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Egypt: Three Countries in One

I started my Egyptian journey into the southern tourist drawcard towns. Life seems pretty basic there, there's not much sign of moneyed people, and I think every women I saw wore some sort of headscarf or veil.

After a week or so I arrived in Cairo and felt I had arrived in a new country. Now amongst all the old, battered cars were luxury European models. Billboards advertised useless but expensive consumer goods, mobile phone company adverts abounded, and a significant portion of women went out in public with their head uncovered. Although Cairo is clearly very poor, there are people here who live another live, a live of Western levels of consumerism.

The third country is Alexandria. The French influence is palpable, with the French Riviera feel, people answering "Merci" instead of "Shokran", the patisseries, and a relaxed Mediterranean feel.

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