Thursday, 10 June 2010

Seeing more sides to the city

To continue telling my tales of Cairo before the memory starts to fade, it took till day 4 of the trip for the temperature to drop far enough for us to visit el Haramat - the biggest tourist draw of all.

In typical Cairo fashion, the adventure again started with the taxi ride.  Instead of taking us straight to Giza, our driver chose to head towards Downtown - he was going the wrong way.  So we called our host to ask for help.  It turned out that the driver didn't know the way to the pyramids and Lorna had to give him directions.  Surely that would be the equivalent of an Edinburgh taxi driver not knowing where the castle is - it simply couldn't happen. 

At the pyramids, after quite a bit of bargaining we went for a camel ride.  This was a huge amount of fun.  We rode out to take in the amazing view, far away from the tourists at the sphinx and at the great pyramid.  I got to practice my Arabic, and we took all the touristy pictures. 

The main tourist attraction over with for the day, it was back to Mohandiseen and the start of our next mission, shopping.  Instead of exploring the famous shoe shops, we went mad in the 2.5 Egyptian Pound Shop (25p) buying up so many different things, from presents to a rather nice selection of flowery hair ties - perfect for performing. 

Then it was back to the Khan el Khalili, to start the costume shopping at the famous Mahmoud's. 

Exploring all four floors of costume heaven we piled up the costumes and tried on everything we could see - dresses, skirts, hip scarves... it went on forever.  In fact we were there so long we became tired, hungry and exhausted.  And that was exactly when we got rescued for the second time that day.

Lorna called at just the right moment, and she told us exactly what we had to do next. 

So we went to Naguib Mahfouz Cafe in the Khan.  We sat, enjoyed fantastic Mezze, and most enjoyable of all listened to some exquisitely played live music on qanun and reqq.  And they even played Enta Omri.

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