This book is written for people from Western countries (Europe, North America, Australia, etc.) who intend to move to Egypt and live there for some extended period of time. It addresses the things that a person might need to know who is planning to spend time there as a university student, business professional, or government official. Most of the information it provides would not be relevant to someone merely visiting Egypt as a tourist for a week or two.
The book begins with some basic background information - a brief overview of Egypt from the perspective of economy, natural resources, government structure, and Pharaonic history. From there, it delves into modern-day culture.
The modern-day culture chapters are the ones that I find particularly interesting. They address relationships with friends, business relationships, dating and marriage, religion, social class, verbal and nonverbal communication, respective roles of men and women, gifts, baksheesh and tipping, dining etiquette, and compliments. Egyptian culture is definitely different from Western culture when it comes to these issues. For each such topic, the book describes both the general concept and then uses examples to illustrate key points.
Other chapters offer a practical guide to the logistics of establishing a household in Egypt, including how to rent an apartment, bringing pets along, transportation, laundry, medical care, household appliances, etc. These topics are described well, with the kind of pragmatic advice that someone planning to live in Egypt would find important to have.
A chapter called "Cultural Quiz" offers an interesting way to help the reader figure out how to apply the topics the book has discussed. It describes several hypothetical situations which could possibly arise when visiting Egypt, then invites the reader to choose which of several possible courses of action would be the most appropriate one. It then goes on to offer feedback on the pros and cons of each possible choice, advising which would probably lead to the best results.
A "Do's and Don'ts" appendix contains a summary of key points that previously appeared throughout the book, serving as a quick review of what the book covered and a convenient reference tool.
Several reference chapters include a glossary of Egyptian terminology, a calendar of festivals, a resource guide, and suggetsions for further reading.
Is It Right for You?
You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...
This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...
What I Liked, What I Didn't
What I Liked:
What I Didn't Like:
Much of the information in this book is geared to the issues that would concern people who would be living there for a year or more, such as having pets, marrying an Egyptian, obtaining an apartment, etc. If you are planning to live there for an extended period of time, you will probably find this book useful in preparing for the big move.
I don't think this book would offer much practical assistance to someone who plans to go to Egypt only once as a tourist, with no intention of returning. That's not the type of reader the book is aiming to assist. A typical tourist guidebook would be a better fit for the one-time visitor.
If you decide to buy a copy, be sure to purchase the most recent edition. This review is based on the 2001 edition, and many things in Egypt have changed since it was published. It's important to obtain a current edition so you can read current, accurate information.
There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.
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