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 If only I had bought this before I left America...

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YallaBina
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PostSubject: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:31 am

This one is for those of you who have spent time in Egypt...

What hard-to-find items do YOU think I should cram into my luggage?
What can I pick up down the street in America, that will take me a year to track down in Egypt? I'm sure some of you have been in Egypt thinking, "If only I had bought this before I left America..."

I want to know the must-haves for my Egyptian household! For instance, Claire mentioned measuring cups and coffee mugs on her blog...I need more ideas! If it fits, I'm taking it! lol

Thankssssss!

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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:42 am

I think that you should take a lot of makeup, enough for maybe one year, jars of peanut butter if you're crazy about needing it lol!

A teflon pot to cook your rice in, because using the pots there will make the rice stick and you will have to spend a lot of time trying to unstick it. tongue

I will let you know other things as I think of them.

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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:32 pm

I have lived in Egypt and the Middle east for almost 3 years and You can get makeup from Avon in Egypt. and they have some nice stores in the Malls like clinique etc. Yes its very expensive so if your husband or soon to be does not make 10,000LE a month its best you take it with you. Food you can find everything you want but kool-aid. Peanut butter is available from Carrefour and metro Market.

I personally think that the key to living in Egypt is going there saying you will love everything they have. If you go there with a notion I wont have makeup, I wont have food I like, or other things you will NOT like Egypt. Yes you need to bring Measuring cups. Dont worry about Coffee Mugs they are everywhere and cheap. Id take dish towels because you will not find them there like our quality in USA. but just basics. I took shower curtain, dish towels, anti diarrhea medicine, anti acid medications, excedrin. some things are very expensive so just be mindful that the most important things are NOT in anyway food items.

You will also Miss macoroni and cheese so if you yourself love mac n cheese take this it is NOT available as far as I found. but most everything else is. Also take deodarant...If you use secret take it... they dont have it. I have to bring 1-2 years at a time when I come LOL anywhere in themiddle east..

YallaBina wrote:
This one is for those of you who have spent time in Egypt...

What hard-to-find items do YOU think I should cram into my luggage?
What can I pick up down the street in America, that will take me a year to track down in Egypt? I'm sure some of you have been in Egypt thinking, "If only I had bought this before I left America..."

I want to know the must-haves for my Egyptian household! For instance, Claire mentioned measuring cups and coffee mugs on her blog...I need more ideas! If it fits, I'm taking it! lol

Thankssssss!

farao
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YallaBina
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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:14 pm

Thanks for the tips! The teflon pot is a great idea...it's added to the list! And thanks MadamBahnasi for the ideas. I agree that it's best to not go to Egypt with the notion that I won't have the things I need and I love. I'm sure after some time I will be more familiar with the stores and where I can and can't find the things I'm searching for. I guess I just want the things that will help me do my best around the house. I love to cook, so when I cook for my husband, I will want to have my measuring cups to help make the best meal, and the teflon pot so I don't get upset when my rice sticks and have to throw it out and cry and tell my husband we're going out for dinner lol Wink I'm mostly interested in things for the house, like everyday necessities for cooking, cleaning, toiletries and other useful objects we take for granted around the house. The reason I ask is because sometimes when I ask my fiance about a certain item (one recently being a shower curtain rod haha), he has no clue what I'm talking about lol...so it's easier to ask those of you who understand the products I use on a regular basis here in America. I'm not really worried about the food...I've seen his Mama's cooking and wow, looks delicious! Smile And about Avon...I have already been looking at their Egypt website lol! I LOVE Avon and was very excited when I heard they are in Egypt! I will have to find my local Avon rep after I get settled in! And thanks for the deodorant tip! I will be sure to stock up on my favorite kind. And I AM a mac and cheese loverrrrrrrrrrrr...but I will make homemade, I guess. My MIL is always cooking pasta, so I know it's easy to get...and I will add some milk, cheese, and butter...and Voila! Kraft mac and cheese will have nothing on my cheesy mac! haha! Thanks again for the help and ideas...keep 'em coming!

farao
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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:42 pm

well I would never use Teflon at all. You know teflon is the worst thing to cook with. Honestly you will want stainless steel only you are already going to be dealing with some impurities so you want to not use something that can add to impurities in your diet. yes some things you will NOT find there atall... but just let me know what you need because most things are available but...ill help you out. Ye I like to make homemade mac n cheese too sometimes it is just you want something quick for the kids lol so you want a box well they arent available lol.

Shower Curtain rod available at all carrefours

so list of things to bring...

Dish towels
measuring cup,
Measuring spoons
deodarant
Shower curtains are okay there but bring your own
shower curtain rings
any specific spices such as creole or cajun spices.
any cookbooks you might want from scratch because not alot of our products are READILY available
Pillow cases because they are expensive as heck
a set of sheets or two
tape measure in inches because they are only in metric
Stainless steel pans... or at least a really good frying pan... quality in egypt isnt great. Sad
SOCKS!!! this is important your quality of socks in egypt is bad so bring like 20 pairs.
Underwear same as above statement...
extra bras... if you find good quality you will pay good expensive price LOL so bring good bras from usa.
A good set of knives not expensive ones but good set.
Baking soda... not readily available in egypt...


Also buy a majik jack... it is amazing so you can call over to usa for free it is well worth it. I suggest to all my friends to buy them in fact when i travel i always end up
bringin like 5-6 back for friends.


YallaBina wrote:
Thanks for the tips! The teflon pot is a great idea...it's added to the list! And thanks MadamBahnasi for the ideas. I agree that it's best to not go to Egypt with the notion that I won't have the things I need and I love. I'm sure after some time I will be more familiar with the stores and where I can and can't find the things I'm searching for. I guess I just want the things that will help me do my best around the house. I love to cook, so when I cook for my husband, I will want to have my measuring cups to help make the best meal, and the teflon pot so I don't get upset when my rice sticks and have to throw it out and cry and tell my husband we're going out for dinner lol Wink I'm mostly interested in things for the house, like everyday necessities for cooking, cleaning, toiletries and other useful objects we take for granted around the house. The reason I ask is because sometimes when I ask my fiance about a certain item (one recently being a shower curtain rod haha), he has no clue what I'm talking about lol...so it's easier to ask those of you who understand the products I use on a regular basis here in America. I'm not really worried about the food...I've seen his Mama's cooking and wow, looks delicious! Smile And about Avon...I have already been looking at their Egypt website lol! I LOVE Avon and was very excited when I heard they are in Egypt! I will have to find my local Avon rep after I get settled in! And thanks for the deodorant tip! I will be sure to stock up on my favorite kind. And I AM a mac and cheese loverrrrrrrrrrrr...but I will make homemade, I guess. My MIL is always cooking pasta, so I know it's easy to get...and I will add some milk, cheese, and butter...and Voila! Kraft mac and cheese will have nothing on my cheesy mac! haha! Thanks again for the help and ideas...keep 'em coming!

farao
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MadamBahnasi
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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:49 pm

Also just before you travel like the day before go to your local AAA and get an international drivers

pot holders. as it comes ill list more... they have oven mits but not pot holders Sad
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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:25 pm

Well, teflon is not any more dangerous than cooking with a microwave. It's all preference. I cooked with stainless steal in Egypt, and your rice will still to the pot, and you will have to scrub it off. We found teflon pans there, but not pots.

I suggested the peanut butter, because they don't have it anywhere near Dahab. Of course, when you travel to Cairo (if you do, it's a long way) you should pick up things that you can't find elsewhere. Because Dahab is so close to Sharm el Sheikh, I don't think you'll need to worry as much. They usually stock things that Europeans would not want to live without. I found some great cooking utensils at the Metro in Sharm. The one in Dahab is okay for food, but is smaller than the one in Sharm. Yes, Avon (along with many European lines) are available in Egypt. I bought Dove deoderant while I was in Egypt, and I didn't have any problems with it at all. In fact, a lot of their hygenic products come from Europe, so the quality is trustworthy. Especially in Dahab and Sharm, you'll see a lot of European companies.

Carrefour is a supermarket that branches out of France. They just opened a new one in Sharm, near Na'ama Bay, and it's huge. It's a long way to go for groceries, but if you're going to shop once a month, which is easy to do because things like milk, aren't even refridgerated and most things, I've found, have experation dates that almost seem crazy. A loaf of sliced white bread, for example, might last half a month or even a whole month! Of course, that was with AC. It might be a little less without.

If you want to take teflon, you should buy a plastic cooking spoon (and frying spatula, if you want one) before you go. I've found them in Egypt (though it took days to locate one) but the plastic quality, from my experience, is pretty cheap. It's usually hard plastic, not at all flexible. You also might want to invest in a really good spatula too. I trusted that we'd be able to find all of that stuff when I got there, and I just had to go without a spatula. The plastic was hard, not soft, so you might as well have been using a spoon...

A lot of things in Egypt can be described as "tacky". We had the hardest time trying to find a trachcan that wasn't only a foot tall and yellow, bright pink, blue, etc. with little Chinese cartoon characters on it. The only mugs that I ever found that weren't glass, all had pictures on them. Touristy pictures, or strange hearts and things that you would never buy if you were in the US and had a choice. You can find them in some places, but if you want them to be sophisticated, you might just be better to take your own.

I second the shower curtain. I have seen them in Mansoura, but that's because Mansoura is where all of the kitchen and bathroom imports come, so they usually have things that are hard to find elsewhere. Our shower in Egypt had a glass door on it, but in the village, it was just a tub. I didn't mind showering without a curtain, but you should take one if you would feel strange without one, or if you don't want it to have some strange tacky design on it.

They have macaroni and cheese in the Metro in Sharm el Sheikh. We used to buy it all the time.

One thing to note when you are shopping in Egypt is that when you see Brown Sugar (and I mean like the packed brown sugar that you use to make cookies) grab one. I saw them, but very rarely. Some days they would be there, and then they might not have them for another 6 months.

I also second bras, and that's just because I'm picky. They have some really nice places in Sharm to shop for clothes. They have some very nice things, and they even sell winter jackets, even though it doesn't get cold enough in Dahab or Sharm to wear them. You can find pretty nice shoes in Sharm. I liked to shop for shoes in Damietta, because they would be very cheap. I would suggest bringing enough pajamas though. I have yet to find pajamas that are not see-through. They usually come in "matching" sets, with the pants, the matching shirt, and the matching jacket. Yes, jacket, for your pajamas. Not a robe, a jacket, sometimes even short sleeve. But you can do all of that sort of shopping (if you need anything) in the big tourist cities and it should be fine. T-shirts are not as good in quality, and they are usually very short on your tummy. If you want a good housework t-shirt, you might better pack your own.

There are so many things that you can't find, but most of them are not necessary. I took nothing with me, and I survived. It's all about comfort. Also, don't forget that if you miss anything from home, you can always have it sent over for you. Wink

They have A LOT of spices in Egypt. In fact, they're known as one of the spice capitals of the world. Their cumin is the best cumin I've had anywhere. Iron is very expensive in Egypt, ever since this guy bought all of the companies and now basically owns all of the iron in Egypt. He raised the prices and now iron is very hard to buy, whereas it used to be very easy. He also owns almost all of the big trucks (16-18 wheelers) in Egypt. Anyway, if you can live without an iron skillet, I suggest it.


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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:16 pm

Teflon is much more dangerous then a microwave. The actual ingestion of the chemical used to make teflon is very bad. No one anymore uses pots almost to make rice. I have never been to a house that doesnt have a rice cooker. they are cheap and easy takes half the time and is effortless and the rice is cooked properly in my opinion.

Sharm is amazing my husband worked in Sharm and has many friends and family there.

I also took nothing with me the first time because I said when I arrive I am going to live there like egyptians and well I survived too Very Happy haha... just like you it wasnt totally easy all the time but it worked.

I did forget a cast iron skillet honestly they are truly a god send if you cook with them in USA bring one with you LOL... I mean honestly you can get most things in Egypt if you look but the problem is like Misr said It is also very tacky as we would say...

I didnt like dove deodarant tried rexona and Nivea... hated both went back to secret. Honestly it is your body if you use something that works and have tried other things its definitely different now I will say if you are living in Cairo life is much different. The weather is different so your body is different. I have yet to live in Sharm however I am certain i will in the near future. My husband is from Alex and live in Alex is amazing the weather is perfect. while Sharm is like Saudi and Jeddah sometimes extremely hot compared to what we are used to but very tolerable Very Happy.

Life in Egypt in my opinion is simple and Prefer life in Egypt. I will not move back to the United States, in fact if I didnt have family I wouldnt even visit the USA again in my life time. Its just something you have to go get used to and when you are there and see what life is like you will really decide what you need and what is best for you. No matter what all of us tell you this is our personal experiences and yours will be mostly different then ours and in fact will be probably be totally different and you will find life easy I am sure

Misr_is_Love wrote:
Well, teflon is not any more dangerous than cooking with a microwave. It's all preference. I cooked with stainless steal in Egypt, and your rice will still to the pot, and you will have to scrub it off. We found teflon pans there, but not pots.

I suggested the peanut butter, because they don't have it anywhere near Dahab. Of course, when you travel to Cairo (if you do, it's a long way) you should pick up things that you can't find elsewhere. Because Dahab is so close to Sharm el Sheikh, I don't think you'll need to worry as much. They usually stock things that Europeans would not want to live without. I found some great cooking utensils at the Metro in Sharm. The one in Dahab is okay for food, but is smaller than the one in Sharm. Yes, Avon (along with many European lines) are available in Egypt. I bought Dove deoderant while I was in Egypt, and I didn't have any problems with it at all. In fact, a lot of their hygenic products come from Europe, so the quality is trustworthy. Especially in Dahab and Sharm, you'll see a lot of European companies.

Carrefour is a supermarket that branches out of France. They just opened a new one in Sharm, near Na'ama Bay, and it's huge. It's a long way to go for groceries, but if you're going to shop once a month, which is easy to do because things like milk, aren't even refridgerated and most things, I've found, have experation dates that almost seem crazy. A loaf of sliced white bread, for example, might last half a month or even a whole month! Of course, that was with AC. It might be a little less without.

If you want to take teflon, you should buy a plastic cooking spoon (and frying spatula, if you want one) before you go. I've found them in Egypt (though it took days to locate one) but the plastic quality, from my experience, is pretty cheap. It's usually hard plastic, not at all flexible. You also might want to invest in a really good spatula too. I trusted that we'd be able to find all of that stuff when I got there, and I just had to go without a spatula. The plastic was hard, not soft, so you might as well have been using a spoon...

A lot of things in Egypt can be described as "tacky". We had the hardest time trying to find a trachcan that wasn't only a foot tall and yellow, bright pink, blue, etc. with little Chinese cartoon characters on it. The only mugs that I ever found that weren't glass, all had pictures on them. Touristy pictures, or strange hearts and things that you would never buy if you were in the US and had a choice. You can find them in some places, but if you want them to be sophisticated, you might just be better to take your own.

I second the shower curtain. I have seen them in Mansoura, but that's because Mansoura is where all of the kitchen and bathroom imports come, so they usually have things that are hard to find elsewhere. Our shower in Egypt had a glass door on it, but in the village, it was just a tub. I didn't mind showering without a curtain, but you should take one if you would feel strange without one, or if you don't want it to have some strange tacky design on it.

They have macaroni and cheese in the Metro in Sharm el Sheikh. We used to buy it all the time.

One thing to note when you are shopping in Egypt is that when you see Brown Sugar (and I mean like the packed brown sugar that you use to make cookies) grab one. I saw them, but very rarely. Some days they would be there, and then they might not have them for another 6 months.

I also second bras, and that's just because I'm picky. They have some really nice places in Sharm to shop for clothes. They have some very nice things, and they even sell winter jackets, even though it doesn't get cold enough in Dahab or Sharm to wear them. You can find pretty nice shoes in Sharm. I liked to shop for shoes in Damietta, because they would be very cheap. I would suggest bringing enough pajamas though. I have yet to find pajamas that are not see-through. They usually come in "matching" sets, with the pants, the matching shirt, and the matching jacket. Yes, jacket, for your pajamas. Not a robe, a jacket, sometimes even short sleeve. But you can do all of that sort of shopping (if you need anything) in the big tourist cities and it should be fine. T-shirts are not as good in quality, and they are usually very short on your tummy. If you want a good housework t-shirt, you might better pack your own.

There are so many things that you can't find, but most of them are not necessary. I took nothing with me, and I survived. It's all about comfort. Also, don't forget that if you miss anything from home, you can always have it sent over for you. Wink

They have A LOT of spices in Egypt. In fact, they're known as one of the spice capitals of the world. Their cumin is the best cumin I've had anywhere. Iron is very expensive in Egypt, ever since this guy bought all of the companies and now basically owns all of the iron in Egypt. He raised the prices and now iron is very hard to buy, whereas it used to be very easy. He also owns almost all of the big trucks (16-18 wheelers) in Egypt. Anyway, if you can live without an iron skillet, I suggest it.

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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:57 pm

Teflon is thought to contain chemicals that are not uncommon and are actually in 90-95% of people in "developed" countries. However, these chemicals come from many different sources. If you use carpets or rugs, you will have these chemicals in your body. Most shampoos have the same chemicals. There has yet to be a water source tested that did not contain these chemicals. If you are not cooking at extremely high temperatures, the chemicals from the teflon won't even be released. Anyway, rays in the microwave, as I stated before, were supposedly dangerous, just like the rays from cell phones, but that doesn't really mean that everyone is going to stop using them. If the chemicals do not cause any internal damage and cannot be avoided if you're drinking water... why not use teflon? I don't suppose that we should all stop drinking water for the same reasons...

Anyway, to each his own! Smile I don't know anyone in Egypt that cooks with a rice cooker. In fact, all of the Egyptians that I showed pictures to had no idea what it was, and had never even heard of it. All of my friends in Sharm, who were from different countries around the world, all discussed how awful it was to scrape the rice off of the bottom of the pot and how they would stop cooking rice all together if their husbands wouldn't complain about it.


Also, Ashley, if you are going to live in Dahab, and you want to buy frozen chicken from the store, instead of fresh chicken, you should try to find the frozen chickens that are imported from Brazil. They're super tender and cook quickly. Most of the other types of frozen chicken are pretty tough, and take a long time to cook.

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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:22 pm

Wow! Lots of good info!

I probably should have mentioned before, I will be living in Dahab, and visiting Ismailia frequently. So, any stores I visit will need to be in Dahab, Sharm, or Ismailia. I have already talked to my fiance about shopping, and he said it's no problem to make a trip to Sharm anytime we want to stock up on things not available in Dahab.

I feel like I'm missing out...I've never used a rice cooker, and would probably have no idea how to use it lol (unless I had directions, of course)...I'm better off stickin' with an old fashion pot Wink I only use non-stick pans, so that will be my pot and pan of choice to cook in. And I will make a note to bring plastic spatulas and mixing spoons! oh, and potholders as well!

I'm loving all the ideas ladies. And I appreciate knowing which stores are the best to find what I need! Sounds like I'll be making plenty of trips to Sharm and hittin' up these nice stores.

Thanks again!
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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:56 pm

By the way Ashley, the place that I was trying to think of earlier in Sharm el Sheikh with the very modern clothing stores is called Il Mercato. It's actually right down the street from where we used to live. It can be pretty expensive, but it was nice to know that if I ever needed anything, there was a place I could find it. I found some really cute shirts for work there. They were nice dress shirts, and I think that it was about 80 pounds for each shirt. They do have sales sometimes, but be careful, because sometimes they'll decide when you want something on sale that that item was accidently placed in the Sale section and shouldn't have been and they'll try to make you pay full price for it. That happened to me a few times. I was so upset. I was Christmas shopping at Claire's Accessories one time and found something really cute and really cheap (on sale) and he wouldn't give it to me. And I was like, "Even if it's not, then it shouldn't say it's marked down... that's your fault, not mine." But, the custom is never right, according to most Egyptian stores.

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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:31 am

What? They have a Claire's in Egypt? In Sharm? The same Claire's that we have in our American malls??? Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: If only I had bought this before I left America...   Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:32 am

They certainly do! Very Happy

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