Housing

During our stay in Cairo students will be residing together at the Mayfair Hotel, in the district of Zamalek--an island on the Nile.  Most students will be housed in double-occupancy rooms with the same gender roommate. It is possible that--depending on the number of students on the program--that three students would have to share a room. In that case, they will be assigned a larger room with three separate beds. All beds will be twin-size. Each room will be air-conditioned, and will have a small refrigerator. The Mayfair Hotel will provide daily breakfast, which normally includes tea, juice (not necessarily fresh but more like Tang), cheese, bread, boiled eggs.

Zamalek is a quiet district located on a small island on the Nile. It is at once distant and peaceful from the hustle and bustle of daily life in Cairo, while being within 20 minute walk or 5 minute cab-ride to the downtown area (Tahrir Square). It houses many embassies and European cultural centers, it has some of the most elegant architecture in Cairo, and it is home to a vibrant cultural life. Below are some places that may be of interest to you (adapted from entry on Wikipedia).

Eat

Zamalek offers some of the best eating in Cairo. There's a large variety of quality restaurants serving everything from Egyptian molokhia to Thailand Red Curry. But also, the green and relaxed (at least relatively compared to the rest of Cairo!) atmosphere on the Nile-Island makes for a perfect dinner setting.

Budget


26th of July Street (which is the main thoroughfare linking Zamalek to Giza and downtown Cairo) has a range of stalls serving the usual selection of Arabic and western fast food. In addition there is a cluster of fish and seafood cafeterias in the same street between shagrat-al-dor and kamal mohammed.

Didos Al Dente, 26 Sharia Baghat Ali, 735 9227. This place serves pasta, and dishes are amazingly cheap, ranging from five to about twenty EP. Maybe the reason for the cheap prices is the lack of alcohol. Recommended.

Mid-range

Beano's, south to the 26th of July street near the Marriot hotel and the Gezira Arts Center. It has a west-european style and serves food all day during Ramadan.

Deal's, al-Sayyid al-Bakri St near Abou al-Sid. Purportedly the best burgers in Cairo. Doubles as a pub. Open during Ramadan.

Euro-Deli, 22a Dr. Taha Hussein St. (close to President Hotel and the Chinese embassy). 736 61 12 (24 hours delivery). 24 hrs. This place specialises in continental food and has several healthy salads and bagels in addition to very good coffee. Free Wi-Fi availabe and the place is popular with foreign students.

Maison Thomas, near Cilantro and Diwan on the north side of 26 July St. 24 hrs. Legendary establishment (Om Kolsoum once ate here) serving pastries, light food, and pizza. Owned by Coptic Christians, this is one of the very few places in Egypt that serves 'real' ham and bacon. Beer available for take-away except during Ramadan.

Splurge

L'Aubergine, 5 El-Sayed Al-Bakry St, (02) 738-0080 (next to the post office at the corner of Sayed al-Bakri and Sharia Brazil). 2nd floor turns nightclub at night. Closed during Ramadan.

'Sabai Sabai, 21 El Maahad El Swiesri, next to the Nile Zamalek Hotel, on Brazil St., Zamalek Tel: 735 1846, Mob: 010 3921736. Serves traditional Thai food in stylish settings and good service, this is a welcome add to the Cairo Thai scene. Specify if you want the food spicy.

Abou al-Sid, around the corner from Diwan. Owned by the conglomerate also responsible for Tabouleh (a rockin' awesome Lebanese restaurant in Garden City), and L'Aubergine, Abou al-Sid features high-end Egyptian cuisine and superb fresh juices. Very nice.

Cafés

Cilantro, 157, 26th July St, (02) 736-1115, and another branch in the Om Kolsoum Hotel on Abu el-Feda just north of the 26th July St Bridge crossing to Agouza. Part of a local coffeestore chain (think Starbucks) with pastries, light sandwiches, sodas, and free wi-fi. 

Simonds, 112 Sharia 26th of July, tel 02 735 9436, open daily 9 am-midnight - a small, long-established and highly popular café frequented by expats, journos and students. Rather intimate, space is at a premium with just a few stools available or stand at the bar. Very good cappucino. A great selection of sweets, pastries and juices is also on offer. 

Café Tabasco, 18b, el marashly st., tel 027358465. Open daily 7am-3am. Good coffee, a variety of Western and Arabic dishes including "American Breakfast" and pancakes. Popular hangout for foreign students. Wireless internet available.

Costas Coffee, el marashly st.- another Cairo coffee chain, delicious coffee, small selection of pastries, sandwiches, and cold drinks. Best for take out coffee. 

Euro Deli, 22a Dr. Taha Hussein St. (02)736 61 12. Healthy food, homemade fries and salads. Good milkshakes. Wireless internet available. 

Café de Paris, 10 Mohamed Thakeb Pacha St. (off El merashly St.) (02) 735 37 39. 3 pm-2am. This place has drinks, sheesha and beer in nice garden surroundings with flat-TV running constant arabic pop. Popular with nearby students from the AUC student quarters. Light food is also served.

Bookstores

American University in Cairo Bookstore, 16, Mohammad Thakeb, (02) 739-7045. Smaller version of the main campus bookstore downtown. Featuring AUC Press publications and more. 

Diwan, 159, 26th July St, (02) 736-2582. Possibly Cairo's best English-language bookstore, also carries Egyptian and western music, videos and DVDs. A small cafe serves coffee and pastries. 

Zamalek Bookstore, 19, Shagaret El-Dorr St, (02) 736-9197. Small bookstore, with a large selection of English children's books and stationary products