Something I start to really like about Cairo is the Metro. It’s not that I like the crowds and the mixing, not that at all but I start to experience the personality and kindness of some Egyptians.
If you ever get to the Metro for the first time, it may be a little overwhelming for for you, especially because as a Muslim woman you have to keep certain things in mind on how to behave in such crowds. I will later make a list on things to avoid in public insha’Allah.
You get down to the Metro platform and buy your ticket for 1LE. You getthrough the entrance of the direction you want to take(let it be Giza Direction or Shoubra Direction,…), then get down the stairs or escalator and just walk until you get to the platform.
If you’re alone as a woman, I advise you to look out for the “ladies” sign and stand there with a bunch of other girls because the cart for women is gonna stop right where the sign is.
The Metro’s arrival gets obvious when a red signal lamp starts buzzing off,making weird Beep sounds.
A few days ago I was alone and didn’t take the cart for the ladies because I was told which exit to use to get to the street where I wanted to be and this exit happened to be right in front of the guy’s cart of the station I wanted to get to.(Not sure if this made sense now but basically I just had to get out of the third cart not to get lost and take the wrong exit of the Metro platform[it’s a labyrinth!])
It was all crowded and full and even though some guys made space on the seats for a Niqabi woman and me, I didn’t sit because her husband was carrying the baby and it was better for him to sit too.
A metro is divided into entrance and exit and you can find two doors for exit and two doors for entrance in every cart, even though some Egyptians simply ignore this and get in and out through whatever door they want to use.
I, however, experienced that , if you ever go out through the door for the entrance, you’ll have a hard time coming through because the guys will be reckless and rude and not care if you want to go out or not. You’ll have to push and as a Muslim lady, this is very uncomfortable.
I advise to stand close to the door for the exit(green arrows) as soon as you get into the Metro and then stand close to the door. If a woman is sitting somewhere, then stand next to her not to confront guys.
Usually guys make some space for women though not to touch them and when I had to get out of the crowded Metro(Bus drivers were protesting), some Egyptian man noticed and took the lead through the men so that I won’t have to push my way through.
Speaking from experience I had so far, usually you’ll have help from guys. They won’t be nasty but rather protective if they know you’re a foreigner or you appear religious and shy to them. Afterwards they won’t talk to you either, they’ll just guide you out of the cart.
Sometimes, when the metro is not so crowded, you can find people going through the carts and selling stuff. They will place small books, tissues, glue or whatever they have on the laps of the sitting person and then, on their way back through the cart, take it back from your lap. (unless you decide to buy it and hand them one pound or something). I usually just ignore them and don’t even touch the things they hand me(because I can’t read what’s on it anyway , ha) but if you ever need some band-aids, you might as well buy them in the metro =D
That’s it for now. Today we went to the hospital to get a Medical Check-up for the Civil Marriage Acceptance and I will write about this as well insha’Allah.