The apartment hunting process was stressful to say the least. Not only was there intense pressure to find somewhere to live, we were also completely thrown to the wolves regarding the entire endeavor. When we (I and my roommates) set out today, we had the names of a few brokers we had gotten from random people and places and only a vague idea of what we were looking for. We took the Metro to Doqqi and met up with our first broker, who marched us through the sun, us huffing and puffing behind him as he glided with disdain through the middle of the streets in the face of oncoming traffic. As soon as we walked into the building and I could see way too many wires in the ceiling, I knew there was going to be a problem. Sure enough, the apartment he showed us appeared to be oozing dust and decay. I set my hand down on the railing in the stairwell and when I picked it up it was covered in soot or something equally difficult to remove. Gross.
We left feeling defeated and option-less since all 47 CASA fellows were using the same sources to get housing. Luckily, after sitting in a neighborhood coffee shop for literally 3 hours, we got a call from another broker we had contacted. He came and met us at the coffee shop and brought us to an apartment he had found, which instantly felt a hundred times better than the previous place. I didn’t feel like coughing would bring down a ton of drywall. I felt a shower there would both be feasible and make me a cleaner person.
We all liked the apartment, but in the end, we went with a very similar place upstairs in the same building since we would be able to do a short term contract. The lady we talked to, our neighbor who is also the niece of the owner of the apartment, was very nice, spoke English well, and had two adorable boys. But she was also a very firm lady, who knew exactly what she wanted. And she did not want any men coming into our apartment. “You will not be able to bring your boyfriends here,” she said. Our romantic state with any gentlemen callers wasn’t the issue…it was the fact they were men.
Unfortunately, this is not unusual in Egypt. People are a little conservative, a little nosey. And this is annoying, but at the same time, we liked the apartment, and we were not willing to have this be a deal breaker. So, the end game is that we will be imposing on the hospitality of our guy friends (which we don’t technically have yet) in order to host any events we might have otherwise had in our apartment.
I also petted a puppy today.