One of the fascinations with traveling for us is being able to observe the behavior of the local people and attempting for our short time in their country to envision what life is like on a daily basis for them by walking around where locals live and not a tourist area.However, we realize they live their life similar to us; it just looks a little different.
In Cairo and Alexandria, like most other large cities, there are street vendors selling a variety of items.Students are walking around; people are stopping to enjoy the scenery and to people watch while eating lunch.Differently though, a broadcast was playing in the streets during the day.It seemed loud to us at first, but as we became accustomed to the area, we tuned it out.
The fourth and fifth car of a train and subway are reserved for women only. The fifth car becomes a mixed car after a certain time. The women only cars were introduced to protect women from sexual harassment. We were not aware of this when we attempted to get on a car and someone pulled us out by our backpacks.
A local man explained that we could not ride that particular car and we needed to use the other car. He guided us to the correct car and insisted that he pay for us since we were a guest in his country. We felt so humbled. This was an honor and several other men nicely argued that they wanted to pay for us. He won and we enjoyed talking to a local younger man on the train during our commute to Alexandria.
The streets in Cairo are very narrow. They are filled with hundreds of mosques and crowded markets (bazaars). You will often view many men gathering at the coffeehouses to smoke their water pipes (shisha or hookah). We didn’t notice any women gathering anywhere.