Cairo: A Globalizing City
It is easy to forget that Egypt is a modern place,
modern life takes place because it is a country so rich in ancient
history. After my second day in Cairo I
realized that the incrediable sights of structures such as the Pyramids
Sphinx had also taken me in. I had been
able to look past the modern city of Cairo, forgetting that many people
currently live and struggle in the same city where the Pyramids were
As I a
result, I spent my remaining time in Cairo trying to see it as a modern
city. When I opened my eyes I saw a
colorful city full of sheepherders walking their sheep down very busy
and donkey carts competing for road room with large cars and busses. I saw how the Muslim religion plays a very
big role in life in Cairo because I was able to hear the call to prayer
times a day no matter where I was in the city. It
was clear to see simply by studying the streets of
Cairo that there
is a lot of poverty. In fact,
affordable housing is currently a very big problem facing Cairo. Mike Davis wrote in his book, Planet of
Slums, that housing is so difficult to find, that often times
to live on the roof tops of houses and apartment buildings. He also wrote about how many Cairo urbanites
are forced to move to the outskirts of the city where housing is more
affordable even though most jobs are located in the city.
When I, personally, looked over the tops of houses
and saw people on their rooftop houses praying, I realized the large
poverty in Cairo.
when I looked away from the donkey carts and to the other side of the
was able to see many signs of a transnational city.
There was a Hilton Hotel sitting on the banks of the Nile,
western architecture. I also saw more
western chains such as, Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays in Cairo than I had
other city Semester at Sea had visited. Restaurants
and hotels were not the only global structures
Cairo. A World Trade Center had been
built, demonstrating Egypt’s desire to become a global city and to
in global trade.
conclusion, Egypt’s ancient history is an incredible sight and as a
been bringing tourists to Cairo for hundreds of years.
Unfortunately, with the large numbers of
western styled restaurants and hotels it is possible for a tourist to
Cairo without ever knowing that Cairo is also home to some of the
of the world.