These past few days I’ve gone out in the evenings, for the first time since coming to Cairo. I found a gym online and got lost trying to get there yesterday, ended up walking around Cairo’s shopping area after dark. Unlike in other cities, where walking around at night is dodgy, Cairo actually felt quite safe. Because of the desert climate, most people don’t go outside in the afternoon. The evening is when the streets become alive.
Searching for my gym (which I eventually found and took pilates and zumba classes), I found shops with seasonal sale signs in the windows, a nod to the middle-class consumer culture that was rising in Cairo before the revolution took place. I bought gladiator sandals and a turquoise sundress, and walked around until I found a sushi cafe that proudly advertised its two locations as Cairo and Sao Paulo. More important than the cuisine, though, was that it was a place where I could sit for a few hours with a notebook by the window, without worrying about being heckled by the servers or the passers-by.
I realized, as I sat watching Cairo’s easy nightlife pass before me, that I’m beginning to settle here. I’m beginning to get to know the city, not as an Egyptian but as a new expat, and I’m beginning to learn my way around and feel comfortable. Though the city is massive, I’m carving out pockets of familiarity. Slowly but surely, I’m making Cairo into my home.