One of the things that I will NEVER get used to in Egypt, is that Egyptians love the night-life. Now, I haven't really determined what the actual reason is, but I have a feeling it originates from the fact that it is much cooler at night. Our family still operates on a pretty typical American schedule. That is, we try to go to bed by 10:00 PM. Now one thing that helps us do that is we have to wake up pretty early. We have to be at school by 7:30 in the morning to attend the teachers' meeting, and school starts at 8:00. We leave our home at 6:45 AM to be able to arrive on time. It does not take us 45 minutes to get to school, but we have come to realize that if we leave any later than this, the traffic is already getting bad, and that can cause delays. So, Tim and I get up at 5:00 (sometimes Tim is up earlier than this), and we wake our son at 5:30. It is so quiet in Cairo at this time in the morning. It is actually quite nice.
Now another thing that is quite annoying to us Americans, is that most shops and businesses do not open till at least 10:00 AM. This, of course, is due to the late-night hours they operate by. Also, their meal schedule is quite different. Breakfast is usually around 10:00, lunch around 4:00 in the afternoon, and dinner is around 10:00 PM. Typically, lunch is their biggest meal, and dinner is usually lighter.
There are Egyptians, of course, who operate somewhat more on an American-type schedule due to their kids having to be to school early etc., and I do not want to lump all Egyptians into this "night-life" habit. I know I have some Egyptians who read this, and I would love to have some of their feed-back on this. I definately do not want to put across anything that isn't true. I'm definately not the expert on these things. I'm just writing what I have experienced.
Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures to go along with this post because I am never awake to take the pictures of how Cairo comes alive at night, but I promise to try my hardest when we get back to Egypt to get some.
Now, my "thought" on this: Sometimes people can tend to be a little judgemental when it comes to differences in the habits of other cultures. I know I have been on this particular issue. I have thought, in the past, that this habit is soooo wrong. Why do these people have to stay up and visit and socialize so late into the night, keeping me and my famiy awake. But here's what I have come to realize. (This is a "duh" moment here.) I am living among 18-20 million Egyptians in Cairo. Am I so ethnocentric to believe that they are all wrong and I am right? Well, I'm working on it. I think it has helped to live in another country, and to realize that people are people, no matter where they live in the world. I will never be able to change the way an entire people group live and function, so why criticize and dwell on something which just makes my life more miserable. I think it would do everyone a bit of good to be able to live in a different culture at one point in their lives and realize this. Maybe the world would be a better place.