Semester at Sea Fall 2006 Voyage banner


Egypt: Old vs. New

Perry Jackman

In the article, “Relocation and Creation of a Global City”, Farha Ghannam talks about how Cairo represents the world with its mix of actions, buildings, people and activities. When I visited Cairo, I could understand what the article was talking about. I could definitely see a mixture of the new world and the old world. For example, I saw advertisements for global products. Also the hotel we stayed at was an American chain. The hotel was completely westernized, from the swim up bar to the food. However, right across the street were the Giza Pyramids. These pyramids had such a rich history, untouched by westernization.

Ghannam also mentioned how she could feel both the presence and the absence of the government. I could definitely agree with that assertion. I traveled with a Semester at Sea trio and we were accompanied by the tourist police. I also noticed men in nice suits with huge guns in there undercoat following us around. I have never encountered this in any other country I have visited, but I definitely felt safe. Even though we had the tourist police and had security guards checking our bags, I forgot that they were there. There was so much chaos, that the security guards blended into the crowds.

“Relocation and Creation of a Global City” states that Cairo is heading west. I could feel that it is becoming more and more modernized. With the transnational companies stationed in Cairo, like Sony and the Kodak stands at the historical tourist sites, I got a sense the western influence. Little by little, Egypt is losing its own culture and becoming more like the western world.

After visiting Cairo, I could really relate to Ghannam’s article. I can truly see how Cairo’s divers and hectic city life represents the world. I can also recognize how Cairo is slowly moving towards the western influence.

Return to course home page Send me your comments: