Most helpful thing I could suggest is, take some pepper spray, because it will deter the vagabonds... Never ever walk the streets alone at night. Always have a boy crew who you hang out with ragularly in the city and especially in Zamalek if you choose to live inthe dorms, because this will be your saving grace because most men will think that they are you cousins or husband or what ever and they will not approach you. People don't steal there so you don't have to worry about theft.
traveling just be constantly aware of your surrounding at all times. You have to keep you head about your self, it is important never to be too offensive. I would suggest if you drink to do it at some ones home instead of in public because you need your full sense and faculties at all times to even get a cab or you may end up in the dessert some where... well maybe not that drastic but you get the point.
Your arrival into Cairo is an adventure unto itself, the airport smells like livestock so be prepared to be sick. After a few weeks you get use to the smell and don't notice it. My group of friends coinded the phase " the Cairo stench" whcih consists of dead carass, garbage and of course the smells of the Nile... and just the general filth.
The biggest suggestion I can give is take clothes you don't want to wear ever again because Mom will burn them when you get home. The smell of Cairo tends to stay with you even when you get back. Your fiends and family will notice it immediatly. Til this very day a good friend of mine who I met in Cario, he's mother still ask what in the world were you guys doing over there rolling around with the animals.. She threw all his clothes away as did my mother as did all the other the mothers... So believe me when I tell you the stench sticks, in your hair and pores. It takes about a week to get rid of it.
Good Luck and have fun!
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