Getting over the fear of heading to my first Muslim country

After the red-eye flight, we had a layover in Austria. I have been to this country before on my trip throughout Europe. Didn’t really bothered to explore this country then, nor at this time. Sorry, Austria maybe next time.

Taken by Hugo morel

It was officially the 12th and no longer the 11th. So the fear was somewhat gone. However, this will be the first time I will be in a majority Muslim country. I didn’t know what to expect. With all the Media surrounding the middle East, I expected to be attacked or killed for being from a western country. I knew if I want to travel the world, that I would eventually have to go to more Islamic countries. But still, I was extremely nervous!

Taken by Hugo Morel

There I was sitting, thinking about how I should had told my family or someone where I was going. I was having a mental breakdown. I know this seem overdramatic; however, it’s hard not to think this way with the American Media constantly brainwashing us. Fighting this fear and way of thinking was something I wanted to overcome. I know most Muslims are peaceful and good people. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about the images News stations keep hammering on us about this part of the world.

Taken by Hugo Morel

It was too late now to turn back, I had no choice but to go. I did a little research on Islam while waiting to board. Learned that Islam actually believes in Jesus and Mary. Also, the Virgin birth of Jesus. To my shook, Jesus is actually one of the most mentioned figures in the Quran and it’s not negative. Learning all this, maybe my trip will help me build a common ground on our differences. This made me get over my fear and was excited to finally board that plane heading to Egypt.

Taken by Hugo Morel

I actually had the whole row to myself! Flying over Egypt was breathtaking. The landscape change was out of this world. It felt like I was flying over Mars. The sand was nothing like I have seen before. Growing up in California, there were deserts but they were small compared to this.

Flying over Cairo, Egypt… Brought to you by google

After the flight, I landed in Egypt. Started to walk to get my passport stamped. The smell of the airport was very different. It smelled like the spices of the middle East and wet armpits. It was a strange smell. A smell that I will eventually get used to throughout my future travels in the Middle East.

Inside of Cairo international airport… brought to you by google

Got to the immigration line, I needed 25 dollars to get a visa. Looked around and saw an ATM. Found out shortly, that the ATM was out of service. Went to the immigration officer and told him about what happened. Also, let him know that I don’t have enough cash on me. He told me that he will get his supervisor. I waited until an overweight man came. He was the head supervisor of immigration. The overweight man told me that I would have to leave my passport and suitcase with him; while, I got money from the ATM that’s passed the immigration point. In other words, I will be walking into Egypt without an identity nor a nation. At this point, I had no choice but to trust this stranger.

After leaving everything I had with this stranger, I started walking towards the main lobby of the airport. I was able to find an ATM. Soon, I found out this ATM was also out of service. And there I was, with no passport in a foreign country that I didn’t speak the language and nobody back home knew where I was….

Thank you for taking your time and reading this post! Much love and safe travels!

25 thoughts on “Getting over the fear of heading to my first Muslim country

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  1. I think I told you about my experience, with 2 other young women, of being on a Mexican train and not having the money to get a ticket as we had travelers checks and no pesos. We were lucky to not end up stranded in the middle of Mexico desert. I’ve learned the importance of checking ahead and carrying enough cash.

  2. But something really caught my attention, and that was the smell of the airport. Well, it is true is just a story and a true life story if am not mistaken. But I think it sounded somewhat offensive. Not because am an African but I guess an alternative and less offensive world could have been used there.

    1. Ah well no it’s not about being offensive. It’s about how in a lot of Muslim countries, deodorant is not used for some reason. It wasn’t for offending one, it’s just my observation.

  3. Great report! I lived in Egypt for a year and enjoyed just about every aspect (except getting visas renewed down at the Mugamma). One thing I hope you noticed was the massive array of…ready?…π™¨π™–π™œπ™ͺ𝙖𝙧𝙀𝙨 lining the boulevard along the airport entry/exit route. I actually had to get out of my car to touch the saguaros (which are native only to the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona and northern Mexico) to see if they were real or fake.

    (Spoiler alert: fake but very realistic).

    1. Lmao I guessed some of thier stuff was imported.. I mean places like San Francisco has palm trees. So it wouldn’t surprise me of Egypt having imported goods. Been thinking about moving overseas. As an American, was living in Egypt hard? What did you move out there for?

      1. I never figured out what the Cairo airport went to the trouble of erecting fake saguaros–other than that they’re majestic in their way and are suitable for desert climes. But they’re not really “imported goods” (unless they were fabricated in the U.S.) I’m thinking palm trees would be less jarring, especially to an Arizonan like me.

        I found Egypt very easy to live in, particularly considering I had moved there from Saudi. I was teaching English at the Canadian International College just outside Cairo. As the economy grew worse and worse in the 2012 era, I found that tourist-site vendors became annoyingly aggressive and somewhat deceptive. But that can all be avoided just by staying awake and aware. All in all, Cairo is pretty inexpensive and has a lot of things to keep you entertained, especially if you hook up with one of the expat groups. Oddly, one of the things I enjoyed most was the fact that nearly anything you want — from wine to a Big Mac — can be delivered to your door cheaply and quickly by one of the many motorcycle delivery guys.

      2. Well yeah haha you are right.
        Interesting! Been thinking about teaching English overseas. Noticed that about the food delivery people. They delivered food to me once. The thing I missed about Egypt was the old style elevators lol

  4. Hey there, Great Post, thanks for Sharing! Interesting to see that visiting a Muslim country is actually a topic – Egypt is one of the favourite countries for Germans to visit, an easy, cheap, high-class place, maybe comparably to Mexico for US citizens 😊 very different perspective here. I loved it very much when I went there for diving in 2017.

    Hope you enjoyed your stay!

  5. Travel is a great teacher. Egypt has always fascinated me. Unfortunately, fear is a great preventer. Personally, I have a few other things in the way of a trip abroad, but I still would love to see Egypt some day and experience this rich culture. Thanks for writing your post!

  6. “It smelled like the spices of the middle East and wet armpits.”
    That made me laugh so hard. I’ve heard is a distinctive smell you get used to quickly.

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