Sunday, 6 June 2010

More Cairo adventures

A lie in and then a bit too much time spent in BellyLorna's kitchen eating watermelon meant a pretty late start to Day 3 of our holiday.  Undeterred, we set out in the late afternoon to El 'Ala'a, the Citadel.

This meant another taxi taking highlight of our holiday - laughing and joking with driver Ahmed who offered us a share in his packed lunch and drinks and a chance to practice my newly aquired arabic - to decline. 

We headed straight for the Mohammed Ali Mosque, and what an amazing place.  It was really something to leave the sunshine to enter the peace of the interior of the mosque, a huge space lit up by 100s of little lights hanging from tinkling chandeliers.   My photos do not do this place justice.

After a hot and dusty walk along the main road by the City of the Dead, we then eventually made it to Al Azhar Park.  There were plenty of Cairenes enjoying the park the late afternoon and we soon attracted a crowd of children come to stare and smile at us and practice their English - typically "Hello", "Welcome to Egypt" and "What is your name?"

After that it was a short taxi ride to the Khan al Khalili to enjoy the cooler evening in Midan Hussein, watching the locals come out to play.  We then found our way across to the Wikala of al-Ghouri for the free Whirling Dervish show.  This was a beautiful evening featuring an amazing singer, dancing drummers, beautiful music and of course the colourful spectacle of the Whirling Dervish dance.  We had to resist the overwhelming urge to get up and join in - it looked like so much fun.  I would have given anything for the chance to be one of the background dancers and attend a one of their training sessions. 

Here is a very short video I took of the Sagat player and some photos of the Whirling.

Our last stop was the famous El Fishawi's coffee house for a chance to sit, watch people go by and engage in some amusing banter with some by passing vendors. 

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