Omar Shehata

Scenes from Egypt

From Omar's notebook.

I went back home to Alexandria, Egypt for the first time in 4 years. I was able to do this because of a new law that allows you to pay to get out of the conscription.

This is a collection of short stories from my time there.

Some more thoughts

๐Ÿšฝ As I spent 2 hours every day without power, I realized I am very thankful that toilets work without electricity.

๐ŸŽต Do you ever wonder what a world without cultural restrictions on elevator music looks like? You might walk into an elevator be bopping along to the original 8 bit Super Mario theme. The building next door has calming classical western music. Another, generic Arabian 1001 nights style tunes.

๐Ÿงน A recurring theme amongst everyone who prefers living in Egypt, and who has also tried living abroad, is that they have people do a lot of things for them. You might employ a full-time maid to clean, or a driver to sit around until you need any errands done. Everything from ironing to bank errands & government paperwork.

There's a bit of stigma in certain circles if you aren't doing this if you can afford it. There aren't enough jobs for everyone, so, the argument goes, it's selfish to drive yourself or iron your own clothes when you can pay someone who may not have other sources of income.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Prices are weird. A small box of Quaker Oats is $6 (same box might be $4 in the US). Cars are taxed at 100%, so they're twice as much. Everything imported is really expensive. But anything that involves human labor is extremely cheap. A hairdresser that comes to your house for half an hour and does your hair? $1. A 6 mile Uber ride across town (30 min with traffic)? $2.

How is the last one so cheap?? Gas is heavily subsidized! About 4x I think. So if it costs $40 to refuel in the US, it would be $10 here.