Cairo, Egypt, has been called "the mother of the world," "city of a thousand minarets" and "city of victory." Visitors will find it to be a fascinating, intense and often bewildering mixture of old and new. Cairo businesspeople in suits and locals in traditional robes can both be found at sidewalk coffee shops, while minarets and domes share the skyline with high-rise office buildings and hotel towers. Traditional music competes with jazz or Egyptian pop, as well as with the incessant honking of horns.

Cairo's layers of ancient, medieval and modern can be a bit overwhelming. Many things take longer than they should, and nothing works quite perfectly. Expect technology to cut out from time to time. Patience is a virtue: The expression Ma'alesh (which translates loosely as "Don't worry about it") seems to be on everyone's lips—especially when you're in a hurry. If you set reasonable goals, expect things to take longer, schedule fewer tasks, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water, you'll have a memorable time in Cairo.

On the plus side, scattered amid all the chaos, there are several amazing sites to visit in Cairo, including world-class museums, ancient and, of course, Egypt's iconic pyramids in Giza.

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