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Five Things You Didn't Know About the Egyptians

By Justin Dodge
October 3, 2010; republished August 1, 2014

Returning to Egypt helped me recognize a few odd things, so without further ado, here are five things you probably didn't know about Egypt:

1. The Egyptians like to eat pigeon
...or at least that's one of the most prevalent sources of protein so they many people eat it. Despite their lack of taste when it comes to pigeon and other traditional foods, they more than make up for it with their incredible shawarmas, which consist of slow-roasted lamb meat diced with tomatoes, onions, and parsley on a bun. Egypt's version of Turkey's kebab or Greece's gyro can compete with the best of them.

2. There's more here than just pyramids and the Egyptian museum
Despite popular belief, Cairo is a thriving city with people and a culture that go beyond stone architecture and statues of dead Pharaohs. For most Cairenes the pyramids are too far away (in neighboring Giza) to drive to, so they have only been to them once or twice in their lifetimes. The Egyptians seem to spend much more time embracing technology and love facebook.

3. TV Satellites attach to anything
Every apartment has a satellite dish or 30 on its roof, even make shift homes which appear temporary have somehow managed to attach a satellite dish to the tarp acting as a roof. Unfortunately, the television still doesn't offer much for the English-speaking traveler unless you enjoy the Matrix trilogy and unheard-of American movies on repeat at all hours of the day.

4. The Cairenes stay out until midnight... or later
If you open a business in Cairo and ask your employees to start work at noon they may complain and not show up. Much to my surprise, and pleasure, the days in Cairo begin no earlier than 10:00am and never end until midnight at the earliest. Their meals begin with breakfast at about 9:00 or 10:00, then lunch at about 3:00 or 4:00 and dinner at about 10:00. This helps them avoid the heat as the streets fill with children playing soccer well into the early morning hours.

5. Egyptians park anywhere they want
Most roads don't allow left turns so drivers must go a mile out of their way to take a U-turn instead of simply crossing traffic. While making this mile long detour, you may pass plenty of other cars and horse carts as the cars behind you flash their lights on and off to either let you know they're there or to "piss you off" as it was explained to me. Once you finally arrive to your destination you can park on the side of the road in a parking spot, double park, triple park, park on the sidewalks, or if you can't find any place to stop your car so long as you open you hood, which makes it appear that your car has broken down so the police will move on.

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Tags: Egypt, food, driving, social life, travel