Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Trams- La, la, la

There are many ways of transportation around the city.  Among the many ways, the only ways I’ve experimented with so far are trams and taxis.  Taxis can be a tenuous option depending on the taxi driver and how comfortable you are with negotiating and saying no.  However, I enjoy the process of taking a taxi, especially when I’m by myself.  Sometimes I am with the whole group and the student coordinator, Moutaz.  In this situation Moutaz takes care of everything for us and there isn’t really any challenge for me.  Nevertheless, as you would guess Taxis are more expensive than the tram.  So, I have taken the tram much more than I have taken a taxi.  The tram is just as fun and has some challenges of its own though.  It is typical for an Egyptian to ask where I’m from and for a conversation to ensue after the hellos are exchanged.  It’s a great opportunity to practice my Arabic.  My favorite tram experience came just the other day.  I had finished with my classes and was approaching the tram to go home.  The others in my program had taken a taxi to the mall so I was by myself.  When I was still about 50 meters from the tram station, the tram came to a stop.  Fifty meters doesn’t sound like a long way, I know. However, the trams don’t mess around at stops.  Sometimes they are stopped about 5 seconds before they take off again.  So, when clear I took off running across the street to get in before it left.  I was moving speedily, got to the first door of the tram and without looking thrust myself into it.  As soon as I stepped in I realized that I had just entered the female only tram.  Ahh! I had heard numerous times that there was a specific tram for females if they chose to use it, but in my hurried state I had forgotten.  Women are allowed to get on any other tram that runs, but Egypt decided to isolate a female only tram in an attempt to prevent harassment which is a common problem in Egypt.  As I realized that I had just entered a forbidden door, the man collecting money began declaring, “La, la, la, la” (no, no, no, no) while shaking his finger back and forth.  Just as fast as I had gotten on, I hurried off!  There was some Egyptian boys that saw me do it that thought it was really funny!  It probably was.  I laughed at myself.  One of them teased me about it for a little while as I got on to the RIGHT tram.  I enjoyed a good talk with some Egyptians once I was settled down and heading toward my apartment.  They wished me the best during my remaining time in Egypt.


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