my unusual Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt

It's nothing like my usual Ramadan, in any ways. Of course the longing to have Mama cooks for both Iftar and Sahur are something I would miss, and this just the beginning. To experience everything in very unusual way, unfamiliar yet my first time since Mama left, while I had to celebrate both of this year's Ramadan and Mothers' day while everyone does in usual way...
it's me again on another side of world dealing with the absence of Mother and the thoughts that keep me cherishing that this life is forever a test. yet in the same time, a prosperous blessing of God to me.

This is, my beginning. 

I had 3 final papers in a row in a week, and Ramadan was coming in less than a week. I had no plans but I was quite sure of the need to escape somewhere. While I am planning to make it unusual, I purposely wanted it to be a solo travel, just a real tough taste. Like a real 'real' escape. And my trial to face the beginning. Without the usual cliques, without family, just far away from any kind of comfort zones, I decided to take a flight to... Egypt. 

I don't have any specific reasons why it has to be Egypt, other that I know few souls there I think everything else should be just fine. and the fact that the flight ticket is still under my budget, I just straight went to Cairo after my last paper and here it is; my Ramadan journey.

Here am I in Cairo, adapting the unusuals.

Khan El Khalili

First of all, God really bless me with real friends here, just those ones who welcome and celebrate my presence like I am bringing a fortune to each of them. They have believed in saying 'hold an honour of you guest', for this Allah bless them all in return. Ones that make sure I had the good sleep through the night, the knock on door to wake me up for Sahur, the effort they put to make sure I could perform my Taraweeh every night despite they are having exam in the same week, the invitation to join their program and the warmth of gesture that always making sure I had the best of this city.

all of those, that polish off how unpleasant real Cairo is to me. 

the truth, 

the first few days in Cairo were tough to me, because I tend to compare with how pleasant was British way of doing things. More proper as we call it 'English way', the unusual Cairo just made me want to curse a lot and I guess that's how my first Ramadan lesson is to learn to be patient and.... adapt!

 Thought it is somehow expected, with reference to recent trip I went to Saudi. From the people who speak so loudly more like they are shouting to price discrimination and their capitalist habit of charging us just whatever they can especially to non-locals, and of course my inability to converse in arabic have been somehow a disadvantage to me. Also glad that my friends have been so helpful on this.

 Of course, I would also still in question with obvious way of living between Sabi' and Asyir people though to me the distance between both two places are just few kilometres away; all just made me thought a lot. and I haven't even started to talk about the Egyptian driving as to me.. just insanely unusual! 14 days still couldn't make me cross any roads without depending to someone else. 

Nothing much with the first week, except the Mosque hopping. Like five nights Taraweeh in different five mosques; thanks to S and A who made this happen. Who teman-ing, and sending me off, for waiting until the Witir and gets me back home each night. The sacrifice of time uguys made and the generous mushrif I don't even know their names, Allah bless them all.

I can say I am quite satisfied as I had chance to visit and some that I performed Taraweeh there, there is a few including Al Azhar Mosque, Al Hussein Mosque, Mosque of Al Amr Ibn Al As and
Marshal Tantawi Mosque.
(and also some mosques nearby)

I think my favourite that has put me into depth of emotion is Mosque of Al Amr Ibn Al As, and it was the last Masjid I visited at last few hours before my flight on the very last day. And the fact that it was the very first Masjid built upon the opening of Egypt by Amr Ibn Al As, with an order from Khalifah Umar Al Khattab. It is located in the old Cairo and nearby there was also an oldest Cathedral in Egypt; both are to me two important buildings in Cairo. Like I hope to visit there more earlier and listen to the stories more better and in less rush.

If I could remember there was four mimbars in the Masjid that also being told as a mimbar that represents each Imams of different mazhab. Interestingly, as you walk inside the Masjid you can see how the original layouts are still being preserved though it has been the oldest around the whole of Africa.

Masjid Amr Ibn Al As 

I have been to few places, from Cairo. First day of trip was spent as a road trip to El Fayoum. I didn't go there alone, in fact I was joining a trip with a Malaysian family who happened to be in the same time visiting Cairo. I was with them all the time for a day, and we did Iftar together later in the night. That was to me, a warm gesture that rather is unforgettable. It made as this foreign place could also feels like home.

It took us around two hours of journey to get to El Fayoum. But two hours felt like nothing, as the view you get along the journey is spectacular. The desert view was of course something I wouldn't get everyday, it literally was something else.

and that was the reward I guess, when you bear your eyes for desert and the view you thought is all plain... wait till you reach the Oasis. To be honest, this is my first time witnessing an oasis and as spectacular as the name 'oasis' is it took quite a moment for me to absorb the beauty of Wadi Al Rayan's Oasis.

It has been a journey, really. 

Trip to El Fayoum Oasis, was something spectacularly unusual. It is beyond amazing.

Before reaching to Wadi Al Rayan, we did visit Qarun Lake which is to me also an important tourist spot you should not miss in the way to El Fayoum. So often since I was a kid to here the story of Qarun who turned away from God as he turned rich. Due to his arrogance, Qarun's treasures and wealth finally being swallowed and this story is so interesting as it has exactly been mentioned in the Quran according to ayah 28:81

Lake of Qarun

At a first glance I barely saw it as a lake, as the size of literally 55,000 hector is to me pretty massive. The lake used to be warehouses of Qarun's treasures and wealth that finally being swallowed.

To my plan, I was supposed to visit the pyramid on the first week of my trip and I have been so excited about this since it's the first of one of seven wonders in the World for me. I have never been to any before. But for the sake of best of experience according to S, I only got chance to go on my second week but glad it went pretty well.

But should I say, I was quite unimpressed with the Egyptian tourism management. I acknowledge of how I could get cheaper price if I could show my student card. And, that is I guess that is the privilege of being a student as you'd get benefit by visiting these kind of places. However, I found it unpleasant since my student card is in English and due to their inability to read that right they could not accept mine all because they could not find the 'international' word and they don't even tolerate their inabilities even after we explained.

Even so, I was quite lucky too since there was an officer at the entrance who finally approved our student cards, but it was like the only approval and then after we proceeded for payment, we still got problems in dealing with another process at different stage of entrance. Finally as we got tired with such nonsense we finally had to bribe another officer to pass the security stage before the real entrance. It was troublesome tbh, but I learnt how Egypt makes money out of their tourism. They just charge you money with everything under the sun, it's either they sell to you, make it hard on you till you finally give up and bribe them more to pass through. and, I am not yet talking about some tourists we saw as they had to deal with hidden cost charged on them by their tourist guide. Scammers are everywhere and in many forms.

I couldn't thank Z more for guiding this trip, and gave his best. I felt as my wanderlust is satisfied as I met the Pyramids. It just, amazing and mind-blowing.

Egyptian Museum

Pause on Cairo, I did go to another city of Egypt on the second week that is to be Alexanderia. Alexanderia, unlike Cairo, is all the way sea and more breezy and windy. I had two nights there, two times of Sahoor and an Iftar on the first day.

I am not sure if I like Alexanderia better, but Cairo in gesture was warmer and more familiar. Maybe going to Alexanderia was like I was being put too much on hope and less of realisation. I think that I could have done more activities and visited more places (not that I regret) as it cancelled off with the crazy Alex cliques that reminded me more of my UK friends.

Citadel of Qaitbay

friends that I forgot some of their names luls but boys they are cool

As I went back to Edinburgh, and me having back my usuals. I guess I have started to miss the unusual Cairo and how it has been to me, weird of course. Because I have to admit how there were days in Cairo I have been wanting to go back to the usual home.

maybe that is how unique this trip is, more of me revising lessons, adapting something I am not used to, meeting new faces and knowing new names and be familiar again. Even though most of the time I was actually questioning, and the awful me just could not stop comparing. But I had it all, I guess.

I would miss the dusty weather, the bloody sunny days like I have to take shower every 5mins, the loudness of voices and car horns, the rush they had on roads, but also the sweetness of Mango asir, their tolerance and compliments they would give when you speak of Tun, also the taste of home everytime of I hear the call for prayers from nearby masjid.

Thanks to all, to you know who you are.

Trust me when I say I had it all, and that's pretty sum up my entire Ramadan trip to Cairo.

Unusual, yet an amazing ride like the following camel ride photo I attach to you hiks


Stay tuned, as I'll be leaving to Copenhagen in two days.
For more stories and adventures.