The most common question I am asked by tourists I meet on trips is “How is like to live in Egypt”. I always answer that as many people as many opinions. I, a European woman, earning mainly online, live quite well, because I think I have small requirements, and at the same time a pretty good “starting position”, but others?
I deliberately chose a picture of “Paradise” for this post, because tourists coming to Hurghada for holidays may see Egypt as a small paradise, with palm trees, turquoise sea and sun all year round. But life in Egypt is in fact very difficult for many people.
Low wages, high prices
This is the standard. Yes, for tourists, prices in stores in Egypt are sometimes higher (mainly in those places where there are no prices on shelves or products, only given orally by vendors), but prices for Egyptians are still high. To remind you of 1 liter of milk – about 16 Egyptian pounds, 1 kg of rice – about 15 Egyptian pounds, 1 kg of chicken breast – about 90 Egyptian pounds. And the basic earnings of employees are about 2000-3000 pounds. Although there are those who earn less. There are also those who have no fixed income at all.
Add the average price of shampoo 250ml-25 pounds to food prices, shower gel 250ml-25 pounds, toilet paper 40 pounds. Tshirt about 100 pounds, jeans about 200 pounds, winter jacket min 500 pounds, sneakers min 150 pounds. Ticket to the cinema – 50 pounds. Children’s soccer – 3 times a week with a large group – 200 pounds, with a small group – 500 pounds (monthly). Landline Internet – 250gb per month – 250 pounds. Rent in Hurghada for a beachside studio on the boulevard – 3500 pounds (low standard), house (with a floor, 3-4 bedrooms) with beach access – 10 000 pounds (medium standard), 20 000 pounds (high standard). The further away from the center and the beach the cheaper it gets.
I, as for now, still have some work there. Moreover, I am not fully financially dependent on the situation in Egypt, because I work mainly abroad. But if I lived from tourism, with our expenses, I would probably stop having money for bread some time ago. Because since the times of the coronavirus, the number of tourists extremely dropped.
Health care in Egypt
As long as we are relatively healthy and occasional visits to the pediatrician, dentist or ophthalmologist are enough, it is great. Because the doctors we choose, the doctors we go to privately (read: we pay for each visit – the pediatrician took about 200 pounds from the child last time I remember), are really on the level. I also mention childbirth in Egypt much better than in Poland, but in Poland, I gave birth at the NFZ and in Egypt privately.
If we were to use the public health service … I am afraid to think.
The Egyptian standard
You may have heard that the Egyptian five-star hotel is at most three stars in Europe. There is a reason for saying so. One of the better compounds in Hurghada, the sale price of the house is about 3-4 million Egyptian pounds, and the lawns are watered with sewage, the water in the pool was green for a few weeks.
Not only in hotels you can observe “uneven joints in bathrooms”. In Egyptian houses the standard is not better, on the contrary. I guess I’ll never forget how I was invited to the apartment of a rich Egyptian, with the information that I’m about to see a high standard, luxury to power, and with terror in my eyes I was walking down a dirty staircase buried in garbage. And I don’t mean a few papers thrown on the stairs, but rubbish, including leftovers of food, pulled by cats from garbage sacks put out in front of the apartment door and stretched all over the staircase.
Education and upbringing of children
I assume that if I raise my children and teach them, they will know how much. I do not believe in public education in Egypt at all. I tried private education only in kindergartens and I was really satisfied, but we paid about 800 pounds a month for 1 child a few years ago. I have already written more extensively about education in Egypt.
I love that my children can be independent, that they can go shopping, ride a bicycle around the city, meet with their friends. I love that I can take them with me on trips from Hurghada and work with them at the same time.
Don’t worry, be happy
I think what most people like about Egypt is freedom, no hurry, no European life in stress and tension. Europeans also mostly like sunny weather, the Egyptians, surprisingly, do not like the sun (that’s why so few people on the streets during the day, tiny windows in houses and vitamin D deficiency in most of the population).