Don't be alarmed, this is just how we live.
Over time, Egyptians have simply gotten used to some of the famous scenes they face on the streets every single day; some of these scenes essentially become an Egyptian registered trademark, things that you cannot find in any other place on the planet. If you are visiting Cairo for couple of days or a week you will likely face some of these situations. Do not be alarmed – this is just how we roll. If you are a Cairo resident then you’ve probably gotten used to coexisting with this lifestyle.
The Bus Station Optical Illusion
Here you can see hundreds of people standing in the middle of the street, waving their hands with strange symbols. At first glance you might think that this is a demonstration, a protest, or perhaps even a cult meeting. But no, they are not signaling to the aliens where to land; this is actually just a bus station and these people are waiting for transportation.
The Street Vendors
Street vendors are found everywhere. But though they may be present in many countries, Egyptian street vendors have a special character and they can be recognised very easily. So if you find a man wheeling around an old worn vehicle shouting weird, strange words, this is definitely an Egyptian street vendor. It should also be noted that you can find this vendor in a bus, on the subway, or in the middle of the street causing a stop in a traffic, and in many cases you may be forced to buy his product just in order to continue on your way.
The Egyptian Traffic Jam
I can assert that more than 30% of Egyptians’ life cycle gets wasted in traffic jams. In these traffic jams, there is no such thing as lanes; cars can be perpendicular to each other. If you get stuck in your car for more than an hour in the same street, or even in the exact same spot, don’t get angry. Instead, deal with it the Egyptian way; you can take a short nap, write your afterlife testament or even order your favourite meal.
The Parking "Sayiss" Situation
This job is a 100% pure Egyptian invention. Called the sayiss, you will find these men loitering in well, any place that you can park a car, which because it’s Egypt, is everywhere. You will find them waving their arms at any car that slows down, or running fast towards a car that’s about to fill an empty parking place in order to mark their territory. Their mission is to help you park your car in an already empty spot; in return you tip them, otherwise you may find your car damaged, or stolen.
The Cinema Invasion
This scene usually occurs during vacations and special events like Eid when you suddenly see thousands of people invading the cinemas. Remain calm, it’s not a riot, it’s just Egyptians fighting to get a ticket for Mohamed Ramadan or Said El Soghayar’s newest film.
The Baladi Cafes
Here you might see some people sitting right in the middle of the street smoking shisha and playing backgammon, and of course, drinking tea. EGYPTIANS LOVE TEA. Groups of men will always be gathered at these ahawy balady, at all times of the day. All times. 10 AM, 4PM, 3AM, you will always find some men drinking tea. Because drinking tea is a part time job.