Sunday, June 22, 2008

Moving Around in Cairo

I have arrived in Cairo for over three months now with my family but I still cannot say that we are well settled into our new home. Reason is that I am still waiting for my car to arrive. Moving around Cairo is not an easy task, especially if you are not sure how to say where you are going in Arabic. Forget about the unmarked micro buses plying the busy streets. Not knowing your destination in Arabic means that you can forget about taking taxis too unless you want to risk a merry-go-round and get ripped off. To have a decent life here, you need a car to move around and better still a chauffeur so that you can also forget about the parking problem.

I placed an order for a brand new Opel Vectra last month and I am now in the final stage of clearing all the paperwork. Hopefully the car can be delivered before the end of the month. This is a huge purchase for me and my first car. I thought of buying a cheaper Japanese or Korean car but they were mostly locally assembled and I do not find them tough enough for the harsh roads of Cairo. The Vectra is assembled in Germany and it comes with 6 air-bags and a whole suite of state of the art features like Easytronic transmission, a hybrid of automatic and manual transmission. Bottomline, Vectra is a very sturdy car and I really feel safe in it.

I also considered buying a second-hand car from other diplomats in Cairo but I dropped the idea. I just want to have a brand new car with warranty, no hidden history and no nasty maintenance problems. Also, I did not come across any suitable cars since my arrival. I am ready to bear the depreciation for the first few years so buying a new car is a natural choice. I am starting to read up about cars and I'm feeling excited about driving in my Vectra. Only then I can truly start to settle down to life in Cairo.

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