Site Logo  Egypt
The land that Abo Treka remembered
Even a short visit to Egypt is an honour. I was there for over a year.

What do I think of Egypt today?

Open quotesThere’s nothing like a serving of kosharyClose quotes-Me
Since before I became a teacher I’ve been aware of some of the amazing opportunities we have. It is a very great privilege to travel the world sharing something which I’ve come to realise is a gift, a language, one which so many people desire, not just a system of grammar but a direct route to people’s hearts and souls.
Egypt is a place in which that connection was immediately very easy. Egyptians are a most friendly people, truly welcoming and enormously generous. They are also very proud of their country and keen to share it with other people.


Egypt is home to about 80 million people who speak for the most part an unwritten dialect of Arabic, although rarely to me. I know my Arabic wasn’t so great, but I knew enough to make conversation and I really wanted to improve. Sadly, the lack of reciprocation was all too common and I admit to having got a bit flustered once or twice. But only about this, I know they only wanted the same chance to practise with me and I’ve got only good things to say about Cairo otherwise. Few cities have so much to see, history stretching back to the dawn of man. It would be nigh on impossible to see everything in a week, if you’re going there on holiday make sure you stay longer.
And officially, Egypt is recognised as a country in which English is widely known and spoken, even ahead of Sweden, which I find unbelievable, in spite of the credit I’d give Egyptians for the quality of their English. It’s not all down to the British Council either.

Jolly good show

Of all the places I’ve been to and left, easily the biggest single group of people who still keep in touch are the Egyptians.

Yes, I went

Locals call Egypt ‘Omedonya’, Earth mother, and it’s easy to understand why. And while Rome is considered to be the eternal city, you could be forgiven for thinking that Egypt is the eternal country, from Mount Sinai to Abu Simbel, back north to Cairo and then on to Alexandria. Thousands of years of significance that have played a part in the way we’ve all ended up. And thousands of years of mysteries which constantly remind us of the value of imagination.
Cairo may not be easy to live in, but it meant a lot to me to have the chance, even though in the end I decided to call it a day early. The biggest problem I had was pollution, at times so strong it was like being round the back of a Boeing 747. Egyptians are aware of this, and of the traffic, and they deserve better, but there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of a move away from it all. But unfortunately I also had a problem with a rather nasty parasite which chewed away not only at my gut but also at my ability to make rational decisions and I turned tail and scarpered (rather pale-of-face) before you could say El Shabrawy’s. And I left a lot behind, a great job, some great friends and colleagues, including my landlord and his family who continue to do Egypt very proud with their kindness and courtesy.

One nil, to the Pharaohs

Never seen a party quite like this, and they say football is only a game. Well done, Egypt!
And I could never forget my students, who reminded me every day of why I am still teaching.
One of the things I like best about not staying put is going back to England, parking myself on a pub chair and bringing into conversation, as soon as I can, how I live in, wherever it is. “What you doing here then?” they say. Well, of course the conversation moves through the obvious and logical back to the original point at which I get an insight into their degree of envy. The interest people have shown in Egypt has never surprised me.
All this is not to express regret at leaving, I couldn’t have stayed at the time, but I think that with what I know now, I’d like to go back one day, if only to clear up a few misunderstandings with the local food. For, as all my UK based guests quickly discovered, there is nothing quite like a bowl of koshary.
I can’t do Egypt justice on this page, nor can I for any of my countries. That’s why I’m linking to blogs (when I write some), so I get chance to put the record straight. Egypt is a challenge, but then so am I, and although at times we argued, I still love it and hope it can forgive me for leaving early.

More photos of Egypt


Trip to St Catherine's




Like sand? Join the Cairo HHH


Mohamed Abo Treka's