Well, Tuesday I got back from Cairo Code Camp in, yeah you guessed it, Cairo.
No, I’m not talking about the umpteen cities in the US called Cairo; I mean the one in Egypt. I think the only way I can describe the trip and the place is to use the word surreal. I’m a long time history buff so by the mere concept of being there was unbelievable to me. Add to that the couple of visits we made to those gargantuan structures in the desert and it was more than enough to keep me in awe for the entire time I was there.
The so-called code camp was not really a code camp, it was really more of a real conference. It’s attendance and organization both had the feel of such. This thanks to the folks at DashSoft and the incredible help they acquired for this event. These folks are all part of .NETWork, a user group based in Egypt. This conference was hands-down, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
My take on Cairo:
Being raised in the United States (though not born here), overseas trips tend to have their share of fascination with me but after going to several western European countries, I’ve grown quite accustomed to it. There are several aspects of my visit to Cairo for which I could not have been prepared.
|1. The first is the traffic. I don’t know where to even begin here. The only thing I can possibly say is that you should all go to YouTube and do a search on “Cairo Traffic”. It will give you hours of pleasure. || |
| 2. The second is of course the sheer awesomeness of the Great Pyramids at Giza. I found out that Giza is actually a province of Greater Cairo and the Pyramids are in fact just outside the city in the area where the desert starts. I got to see these twice, at night and in the day time. At night, they weren’t lighted since it was 1:30 in the morning but it’s pretty incredible seeing the black triangles against the black of the sky as you’re on horseback headed toward a Bedouin camp. Forget about the immense allergic attack (shown in the picture) I got because of the horse, it was totally worth it. The following day we went to visit them at daylight and it was a completely separate and equally awesome experience. As if the allergic attack the night before was not enough, this time I suffered a pretty severe cluster phobic attack while entering one of the pyramids. I’m 6’4” and I had to duck into a passageway about 50-75 feet long, 25 degrees down, with dimensions of about three feet high and two and a half feet wide – not pleasant. |
|3. The third and most incredible thing about Egypt was the people. The Egyptian people were the friendliest, warmest bunch I’ve ever met. Their culture in intertwined with their religion in a way that I didn’t expect. I guess I was expecting more of a Muslim state like Saudia Arabia, but that was not the case. The Egyptian Muslims take their religion very seriously. It becomes part of their guide through life and they respect and follow their customs; but at the same time they enjoy themselves and party no different than any of us, except of course without the drinking. There is a 20% Christian population there and they get wasted with the best of us :). I can’t say enough good things about all the people I met and spent time with. The best thing about this trip is the number of new friends I met, and I hope to stay in touch with them for a long time. |
The folks that ran the conference gave me four sessions to do and the turn-out for all of them was insane:
- ASP.NET Under The Covers
- Extensibility: Software That Survives
- Fun With HTTP Handlers
- Dynamic State Storage: Custom ASP.NET Provider Features
The skill and understanding level was above average with this crowd and even the language gap turned out to be a non-issue. The most challenging thing for me was making a conscious effort to lose my New Jersey accent and to speak slower, but it all turned out great.
The slide deck and code for all my sessions can be found on this blog’s download page.
The rest of my pictures from the trip can be found on my Picasa album.
Thank you to the folks at DashSoft, .NETWork, and most of all to the attendees of Cairo Code Camp for making my first visit to Egypt so memorable !
A very special thanks to the Zakari family for the unbelievable spread they put out on Monday. Thank you for your incredible hospitality !