If you live in country which has noise control levels and are used to getting a good night’s sleep in quiet surrounding…..please don’t expect this anywhere in Egypt unless you are going to the Desert! Noise pollution levels in Egypt must be among the highest in the world.
There is no awareness in Egypt on any level of the dangers of sleep deprivation, which can of course lead to madness and eventual death if experienced for a prolonged period of time!
Shopping in Cairo can go on until mid-night or afterwards. Egyptian drivers are constantly honking their car horns even when the street in front of them is empty. Children come out to play at 9pm instead of going to bed! Ringing a door bell is not the normal way to call on someone when going visiting – the normal method used is to stand in the street and shout out the name of the person they are visiting 🙁 Regardless of the time the visit ends – maybe 3am they honk the car horn a few times to say ‘good-bye’.
Call to prayer from the mosques (all over the place) can begin from 3.30am depending on the time the sun rises. Outside of Cairo, which has a wonderful centralised electronic sound system, there seems to be no control over the mosques when it comes to the number or volume of microphones they use. This is the time the birds and the cockrels wake up and start their singing also!
Street dogs can bark all night. Gas Barrel sellers start at 6am, banging the gas barrels with a metal spanner or other object, as they drive slowly down the streets (in Cairo they are on bicycles with 2 gas barrels on either side of the back wheel). There are frequent weddings where the cars drive in convoys playing loud music and honking the car horns again on their way to the weddings from about 7pm until maybe 3 am when they are depositing the bride and groom to their new home.
Then there is the construction and destruction of buildings which can start anytime from sunrise and continue for the full 24 hours……during Ramadan many prefer to do this work during the night-time.
How does all this noise pollution affect the Egyptians themselves? Not at all! For the most part they can (and do) sleep anywhere, anytime – under any conditions, so they are totally unaware of the noise they are creating 24 hours a day – they are blissfully unaware of noise pollution and when it comes to music and the recitation of the Koran….the policy is “the louder the better”!
SO, bring good ear-plugs with you – or even a “white noise” machine or quiet music you can play beside your bed at night, if you are a light sleeper and want any chance of a good night’s sleep in Egypt 🙂