Today -- the long-awaited post about our apartment here in Maadi. We live in an access-controlled compound owned by the U. S. government. There is parking on the ground level, as well as a playground. All the apartments are on floors 1 and above. (Floor numbering here is not the same as in the States; the ground floor here is Ground. Floor 1 is the first floor above ground level, what in the States would be the second floor.)
They set up the compound very well for privacy and sound insulation. There is an open-air (but covered) walkway on each floor. The walkway is a big square, with apartments on each side. But the apartments don't actually touch each other--there's open space, balconies overlooking the courtyard in the middle of the compound or the street outside, in between the walls of each unit. The picture probably shows what I'm talking about better than I can explain. It looks like two separate buildings connected by a railing; those actually are two neighboring apartments. So even though I'm in an apartment building, I don't share walls with any neighbor. I have neighbors above and below me, but none on any side. So it's incredibly quiet. I hear horns honking outside, but they're muted, and it would be impossible to escape them altogether with Cairo's traffic.
This apartment is huge. We have plenty of space for ourselves and for visitors. I don't know the square footage, but it has three bedrooms, two baths, a large combination living room/dining room, and a nice kitchen. It also has a laundry room, a storage room, two linen closets, a coat closet, two walk-in closets in the master, and large closets in each of the other two bedrooms. After we had been here for a week or so, we learned that there also is a storage unit downstairs that we can claim -- we figure we'll put boxes in there that we want available for the next move, but we haven't gotten around to accessing it yet. It's a bit of a hassle, because we have to buy a lock for the unit itself, make a sign for the unit door, and then get the guards to let us into the room where all the storage units are.
One really nice thing here in Cairo is that there are lots of furniture options, and we can swap out any furniture we don't want for something else. At some posts, there isn't storage for excess furniture, so you get what you get and that's it. Here, there are tons of options for upholstery and rugs, and they'll swap out the wood furniture to the extent that their supply allows. I'm going this afternoon to look at upholstery samples because I don't like my couch/love seat. I'll also see about swapping the rugs in my living and dining rooms, because they're red (yuck!). We're also going to swap out the twin beds in the guest room for a queen bed, and all the furniture in the third bedroom, which will be converted to a den.
We also have the option of painting the walls. We've picked the colors for the bedroom (blue, with one darker blue accent wall). We haven't picked colors for the living/dining area or for the soon-to-be-den because we want to see what furniture is available first. The color in the guest room will depend to some extent on what bedspread we choose. Jeff has informed me that painting must be completed by the time our HHE arrives, so I have a couple of months.
Okay, so this blog hasn't really told you that much about the apartment itself, but I have pictures for that. They're available here.