Pouch Bag Money

December 28, 2009 8:54 PM | Alaskan Photo Tours

Pouch Bag Money
Do women carry diaper bags or purses in Egypt?

I’m going to Egypt, and I’ll be carrying my 11-month-old around all day (we’ll head back to the hotel for naptimes mid-morning & mid-afternoon). The sling carrier I have has a pocket and an attachable pouch–enough to hold a few diapers & wipes, plus sunscreen, chapstick, money, and maybe a small snack. This might be enough to get us through until naptimes, but I’m not sure. I’m thinking of carrying a small satchel around town with me (not a big bag), but I’m not sure if that’s a particularly good idea, or if I’ll want to have my hands as free as possible (especially since I’ll have my baby on the same side I would usually carry my purse). What do you think–should I use a bag, or go hands free? What do local women do when they go out with small children?

Firstly, let me congratulate you on being adventurous and travelling with a small baby. Secondly, I am assuming you are going to Cairo which will be the most challenging city in Egypt for you. I have spent about a week in the city. While there are some fantastic things to see there, it is definately a really challenging, stressful place to be in so I just want to give you a realistic picture of what it is like so that you know what you will be in for. It is incredibly overcrowded and polluted. It is hard to breathe a lot of the time. Nearly everyone drives beaten up old Lada’s (Russian cars) which belch fumes. The traffic is horrendous (almost a constant gridlock). There are no road rules (ie. no-one takes any notice of red lights, lanes, pedestrian crossings etc.etc.). There are normally at least 3 cars in every 2 lanes. Cars drive a couple of inches apart. Everyone has their hand on the horn about 98% of the time. It can get incredibly hot in Egypt which adds to everone’s stress levels. Moving around in the city is challenging in itself. Going by car, relatively short journeys can take half an hour or two hours depending on whether traffic is moving at all. Walking around (which I like to do) is hard because you have to play chicken with the traffic everytime you cross the road, breathing is like having your face in front of a bus’s exhaust pipe and you do get hassled a lot.
You mention about heading back to the hotel mid-morning and mid-afternoon. If you do that, you will be spending all your time coming and going somewhere. Maybe go out for the whole morning, come back for a few hours in the middle of the day (when it’s hottest), then go out later in the afternoon/early evening.
You talk of carrying your baby on the side. This is not very good for your back. Plus it ties up one hand and you will tire quickly. Get one of those carriers that you can wear at the front or on your back. You will probably need a small bag as well. You should be able to get a baby carrier and a bag that will still allow you to walk around hands free which is what you will need. Remember to carry water and don’t buy unsealed bottles from anyone.
Local women often looked like life was just plain hard for them (which I am sure it is). I think that when they take their children out it is not for long and not that far unlike what you are doing. I only ever saw them carrying them in their arms. You will probably find it difficult to find changing rooms etc. and a lot of the toilets are pretty disgusting and there wouldn’t even be a place you could lay your baby down.

Can you consider hiring a driver/guide with an air-conditioned car for the day? This would be a great idea if you can afford it. This would avoid you having to haggle constantly with taxi drivers all day or you and your baby having to duck and weave through cars trying to cross roads.
(Imagine running through one of those dodgem derby’s – that is the closest picture I can paint).

Anyway, good luck and have a great trip.
You deserve a medal – I am not sure for what, bravery or something else.

PS. I would be very interested to know how you got on.

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