Life in Cairo from the eyes of a Local

I’m filling in for the writer while he is traveling across Europe. In this post, I will be showing you my beautiful city, Cairo Egypt.

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When people think of Cairo, usually they picture a vast desert, pyramids, camels and tents. But that’s nowhere near reality, while you can go for hikes in the desert and ride camels or go sand boarding, Cairo is also a bustling city, where nothing closes and no one sleeps.

This city is perfect for those who love diverse spontaneous activities, from getting lost downtown among bright lights and loud music to taking a Nile cruise.

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This is a country that loves life and laughter, you can find a group of street cleaners kicking off the morning with some dancing, and people are not afraid to join in and enjoy the music.

Walking down the streets of Cairo, the smell of spices and street food lingers in the air. In the morning, street carts set up selling an delicious popular dish- Ful (Beans) and Egyptian local bread. People from all classes and backgrounds will stop at these food carts before work for breakfast. It is one of my favorite Egyptian meals.

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Drawing of a Ful Truck

For those who have tried falafel, Egypt is home to that delicious snack. This is my favorite local restaurant: I guarantee you will find the best falafel and Egyptian Dolma there.

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Felfela can be found on Hoda Shaarawy Street, Bab Al Louq, Abdin, Cairo

The markets of Cairo are rowdy and colorful- one of the most well-known market is khan el khaleeli, which is in Islamic Cairo in the heart of the city. There you can find shops of souvenirs, antiques and jewelry, as well as small traditional coffee shops that serve Arabic coffee and Shisha (hookah). In addition to being a major bazaar, its history runs deep with several empires influencing it’s structure, parts of which are still visible today such as the Ottoman’s empire Bab al-Badistan and Bab al-Ghuri gates

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Cairo has taught me to appreciate street-art as a form of expression. Graffiti can be found throughout the streets of Cairo, especially downtown near Tahrir square, where the Egyptian Revolution occurred. I often stumble across beautiful Murals and deep political graffiti-

 

Even though I grew up here, I am always finding new treasures and hidden gems, Cairo is a place I am proud to call home.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’ll also be writing next week’s post, I’ll take you to the New York of the Middle East: Dubai. Stay healthy!

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My crazy friend’s Maple syrup farm

It was my third day being in Canada, we just got invited to go to a farm that a friend of my teacher  makes maple syrup. My teacher and I were excited to see how maple syrup is made. Little did I know, he would be an interesting character.

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Outside the farm, Hugo Morel

 

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At his doorstep, Hugo Morel

After driving to the edge of town, we reached his house. All I could think of, was the fact that this guy’s house looks like the opening of a lot horror movies. It gave me the creeps. It didn’t really helped, when we knocked on his door and he poked his face out of the window. While he was poking his head out to see who it was, all I could think about was that I was going to die and this guy is a serial killer. Luckily, that was not the case or I would not be sitting here writing this post.

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My friend, Hugo Morel

It turns out, the guy was not a blood thirsty serial killer. He was actually a good guy with dogs. Although, he was little weird. The kind of weird that believes all important people are reptiles wearing human skin.

He gave us a quick tour around his farm. We got to see the trees that would be used for maple syrup and the chickens he gets fresh eggs from. The man lives a very simple life.

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The sugar shack, Hugo Morel

I was informed by a follower that in Canada,  Maple syrup “factories” are called sugar shacks. My thanks to Mind Traveler, check out her blog. She was the one who corrected me, so I would not sound like an American.

Hey guys, we just reached 500 followers and over 2000 views last month!! My thanks for finding my life interesting!! I’m so humbled to be able share my stories with you all. I hope my travels can inspire you to enjoy life more and make you realize that money is not everything. You can not bring money with you to the grave but you can bring your experiences. Much love to you all!! Next week,  we bring a little of Brazil to a small city.  Stay safe and healthy!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandon, the city that doors are unlocked

It was a two hour drive from Winnpeg to Brandon. Not much to see on the way there. The ride was extremely dull. Nothing but flat corn farms for hours. Luckily, I had made two new friends. Which made the ride survivable.

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Brandon, Manitoba discovery center, Hugo Morel

Once we got into Brandon, the city reminded me of my hometown. Slow, small and it gave a chill vibe. I met the person who was I staying with. Luckily, she was a very nice person. It was a couch-surfing experience I will never forget.

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outside my host’s house, Hugo Morel

Unfortunately, my host had to work. So I was stuck at the home for a day. She informed me how she never locks her doors. Of course, I was completely shocked. There was so much trust in this small city. No locks! Unless, it is late at night. This still surprises me.

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waking up to these guys, Hugo Morel

I was introduced to two new furry friends. These guys were wild and crazy at times. Waking me up and jumping on the bed my host let me sleep on. It was hard not to develop feelings for these little guys. They would eat anything and I mean anything. Caught one trying to eat a rubber-band.

After the first day of being stuck inside, one of my teachers came. To find something entertaining, we tried to explore the city. That was over in 10 minutes, literally. The city only has 6 main streets. So we decided to hang out in Starbucks because of free WiFi. Long story short, we stayed there for two hours and some crazy guy kept trying to talk to me. He kept asking if my teacher, was my girlfriend. It was very awkward!!

Brandon, Manitoba is home to some very interesting wildlife. The southern part of the province, there are normal bears with black fur. As in the north, there polar bears and penguins! Also, it’s rumoured Santa Claus lives in the most northern part of the province. He also has wolves helping. One of them, was in the picture above.

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Brandon’s downtown in the background, Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking your time for reading this post! Drop a like and a follow. Next week we will be visiting my friend’s Maple Syrup factory. Much Love!! Stay healthy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to Canada, hopefully

New year, new me as the saying goes. For me, new year means new adventures. It was the end of January 2016. New York City just survived a record breaking snowstorm. I was invited to go to Canada for a Capoeira event. The event will have masters of the art to teach us. The thought of it filled me with joy.  Little did I know, it would be a journey just to get there.

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NYC during the blizzard, Hugo Morel

One word of advice, never call your mother during a storm and your flight is the next day, after the whole city closed down. Yeah, the city that doesn’t sleep had to shut down at 2:45 pm; yet, any mother makes a situation seem more awful than it actually is. Okay yes, the blizzard was bad enough to close the city that never sleeps down but I was still alive. After a few “Are you alive?” calls, my mother convinced me to go three hours early to the airport. I’m still trying to figure out how she did this. Once the taxi dropped me at the airport, I knew I was in for a long night.

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The day after the storm, Hugo Morel

As I got into the airport, the place looked like a dead zone. Everything was unusually closed down. The airport is open 24 hours on a normal schedule but a storm just passed. The airport looked like a homeless shelter. The food court was filled with people who were stuck in New York City. Their flights were canceled and the local hotels were closed. The only choice they had was the food court. This was a sight from a horror movie and a traveler’s worst nightmare.

 
After three hours of waiting, it was take off time. To save money, I bought a connecting flight, New York City to Denver international. The flight was full, due to the storm. They kept asking for handbags and luggage to be put on another flight. The kind person would be rewarded for a thousand dollars worth of flyer points. They asked four times and waited until someone actually volunteered before taking off!!

 

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Denver International airport, Hugo Morel

At Denver International, I was surprised how big the mile high city’s airport was. It felt bigger than JFK. There was a mile long walkway (pun intended) and even a mall. I expected to see the cast of South Park here. This was mind-blowing!!

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Flying to Winnipeg, Hugo Morel 

After all the trials, I was finally in Canada. The country that is the home of Justin Bieber, Drake and maple syrup. Of course, instead of seeing Santa Claus and the north pole, I get a not so jolly welcome. Long story short, the immigration center kept me for about 20 mins trying to understand my story. It’s hard to explain to people, what Capoeira is. Lesson learned, never say you are going to stay at someone’s house that you met on Facebook and learn from a master that you never met in person.

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Welcome to Winnipeg…kind of, Hugo Morel 

Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow. Much love!!! Next week, we go to the city of Brandon. Stay safe and healthy!!

Boston and Graduation at Tufts

It was the summer of 2014, one of my childhood friends was graduating from a private university. This was a major accomplishment for him. I was and am still proud of him. After the graduation, we explored Boston together.

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The bus ride to Boston was crazy. Four hours of just sitting, can do damage to any healthy person. It was 2014, and we still have not created a teleportation machine. The epic struggle!! Anyways, when going to Boston you have a few choices. You can go by plane, train or bus. If you are on the east coast, a bus will be best. In certain areas, it is only 50 dollars round trip. From New York City, I paid only 40 dollars for a round trip. I used Lucky Star bus, they are great and a money-saver.

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another shot of Boston from Tufts, Hugo Morel

Once in Boston, I met my childhood friend. We knew each other since elementary school but, didn’t become actual friends until the end of middle school. We took Boston’s subway to get to Tufts University. I got to see where he lived and what his projects were. I’m so proud of him. When I used to visit his home, he would live off MacDonald’s. At that time, he was living in a single parent home with his little sister. Money was very tight for them.  For him to be at this university is an amazing achievement. He is the first person in his family to go to college. When I saw him receive his bachelors, it took a lot of willpower to hold back tears.

After the emotional graduation, we went to explore Boston. We did what tourists do in Boston, walked the freedom trail and go to the infamous Fenway park. Sadly, we did not care who would win and none of us were Red Soxs. After the game, we went bar hoping in Boston. So apparently, Boston’s bars close at 2 am. Living in New York City for awhile, really changed my views of late nights mean.

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Baseball game at Fenway Park, Hugo Morel 

Wanted to dedicate this post to one of my closest friend that helped me out so much growing up. I was going down a wrong path in my life and he encourage to get back into reading. Which eventually lead to this blog and me starting my company! He encouraged me to do what I love. As you guys can tell, I love traveling and being able to write. The friend I’m talking about is the one that graduated in this post. He is now a few years away from getting his PhD. I’m so proud of him. May he continue to inspire others and change more lives.

 

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Guys, we just reached 500 likes!! Thank you so much!! I love you guys so much and I’m so humbled you guys see my life as interesting. Once again, thank you. I hope, I can inspire you all to travel!! Much Love!!! Drop a like and a follow. Next week, we will start a Canadian adventure. Stay healthy!!

Teaching English in Monterrey, crossing the usa/mexican border

After a few days of workshops in Dallas, it was finally time to go to Mexico. We were all excited to teach English and to get out of Dallas. For many of us, it was our first time to America’s Southern neighbor.

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mountain range in Monterrey, Mexico- Hugo Morel

As we got on the bus, we had no idea how long of a bus ride we were in for. Once about 8 hours passed by, we arrived in Brownsville, Texas. A border town with lots of social problems. The atmosphere completely changed, you could cut the air with a knife. The city looked very poor, broken houses everywhere. It was as if, we were in another country and not the USA. The people walking on the streets looked very tensed and scared. This was completely another world.

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border guards, Hugo Morel 

Once at the border, the air became thicker. All the guards had semiautomatic guns. This was not a laughing matter. The border control made us get out of the bus and checked our bags on a white table, as shown in the picture above. As one of the guards was checking my bags, I looked him in the eye by accident. The other two were quick to put their hands on their guns. It was as if, I was some type of criminal. The lives these guards live, there is not much smiling. I didn’t felt love here and I only sensed hate mixed with fear.

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USA/Mexican border on Christmas day, Hugo Morel

After the scare from the border control, we passed through the border. On Christmas day, we were finally in Mexico. You can see the differences and it was heartbreaking. A lot of women showing off their bodies on street corners. There were a lot of men just sleeping on the floor with a look of despair. The hopelessness in people’s face, made us realize how lucky we are to be Americans. Seeing all this, made us want to teach even more.

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another shot of the Mexican mountain range , Hugo Morel

We finally arrived to where we were going to teach, the University of Tecmilenio. Unfortunately, they did not allow us to take photos of the school or the classroom. As the classes started, we saw the looks in the adults’ faces. Their faces expressed friendliness and warmth. As we taught more English, their faces lite up and English was finally clicking. This experience was so amazing. A lot of the adult students, invited us to their homes. The stories they gave us really touched our hearts. Many of them, have seen crimes unthinkable. Coming to the USA, for a lot of them, was their only way for a better life. The rest that will stay, learning English is needed to getting better jobs. This was one of the most memorable experiences on my travels.

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outside view of the school we taught, Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking you time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow. Much love!! Love you guys so much! Next we will be heading to Cambridge, Massachusetts for my friend’s graduation at Tuffs university and explore Boston!! Take care and stay healthy!!

Dallas, English training and Korean culture

Walking down the halls of my university, my curiosity got the best of me. As I was walking to my class, there was a poster on the wall. This poster was an advertisement for an English camp in Monterrey, Mexico. Who knew this poster would lead me into an exciting experience.

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outside view of my hotel, Hugo Morel

It was the last three weeks of 2012. It was a cold day in New York City and going to Mexico to teach English seemed so simple. Since, I speak the language and grew up in California majority of my childhood. Going to Mexico in December, I didn’t have much to think twice about it. After a week of workshops in Manhattan, it was time for us to take a bus to Dallas for more lovely(sarcastic tone)workshops. The drive was crazy and I was not sure, if I would be able to sit again.

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middle of nowhere USA, Hugo Morel

Once we got to Dallas, we went to our hotel.Our group stayed at the Marriott Hotel. The hotel had a very welcoming vibe. As you enter, you are greeted by the front desk. Going up to the hotel rooms,you see all the beautiful lights and carpet decorations.  We spent most of our time here, while in Dallas. This was where the English workshops were held at.

After settling down and resting, we started our English teaching crash-courses. The whole event was being held by IYF. IYF was created in South Korea. Many Korean friends were made.  Also, learned a lot about the Korean culture. How South Korea was really poor not too long ago. The technology boom, helped South Korea become a global economical force. They performed Korean dramas and plays. Our Korean friends, also gave us some of their food to eat. This was the first time I tried Kimchi and it was a great experience. It was spicy and went well with rice.  This made me feel bad for not checking out Koreatown in Los Angles.

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Dallas downtown with the Texas state flag, Hugo Morel

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Another shot of Downtown Dallas, Hugo Morel

After our workshops, we had time to explore Dallas. Unfortunately, it was raining by the time we were able to go out and about.That still did not stop us from exploring this city. Once we were done with our Tex Mex food, we found out how slow paced this city is compared to New York City. This city also has deep cowboy roots that are not hard to spot, when wondering this metropolitan. With all the exploring done, we went back to our crash-courses to get ready for Monterrey, Mexico.

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Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Also, wanted to thank you all for the growth of this blog. Last week, we just reached a little over 100 followers and now we have just over 200!!! All this in one week!! We also just reached over 1000 views this month. Once again, thank you guys so much for this. This such a humbling experience. Check up on us next week, we will be in Monterrey, Mexico. Much Love!!! Stay safe!!