Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not Much For Sale

A colourful paint job and bright blue uniforms are inviting but the selection at this fish store isn't terribly exciting. When I moved here a lot of food was sold in outlets like this where the prices are cheaper but the available items were rather limited or of dubious quality. Private shops are pushing the outlets out of business.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quintessential Giza

Imagine the idea of a pyramid. This is it, right?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Resting At The Sphinx

Some broken slabs of stone provide a spot for quiet reflection in front of the Sphinx.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quick Lunch

One of my favourite foul and taameya restaurants, Chabrawi, in Khan el Khalili, displays a plate of boiled eggs baked in a taameya batter. Next to it on the left is a platter of deep fried cauliflower.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just Keepin' The Peace

Visitors to Egypt are surprised by the vast numbers of armed police and army everywhere. It isn't nearly as alarming as they appear. Every young man in Egypt unless he is supporting his family or is an only son or his mother is a foreigner must put in two years compulsory military duty that may be fulfilled with either the police or the army. Most of these young men stand about directing traffic and the local wisdom is never to ask directions from any of them since they probably have no idea where they are. Most of the guns have no bullets, by the way.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nap Time

People don't realise just how stressful it is being a camel at the Giza Pyramids. All that posing for pictures, wondering which tourist will want to climb in your saddle, ambling across the desert so that people can take pretty pictures. It's a really tough life and sometimes a guy just has to lie down and sleep in the sun.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

City of Minarets

Cairo has thousands of mosques, many of them lovely old buildings that please the eye at any time of day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stuffed Cabbage for Dinner Today

No one associates cabbage with Egypt. Cabbage is cold, European. But Egyptian cabbage rolls as the village women prepare them are wonderful. They stuff them with rice, herbs, onions, garlic, and chopped tomatoes and then cook them in a broth until done. Fabulous, spicy, warm winter food. And our cabbages themselves aren't too shabby either.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Man On The Horse

The equestrian statue of Khedive Ibrahim stands in mid-town Cairo near the flyover from downtown to Khan el Khalili. Ibrahim only ruled Egypt for one year before dying but during his father's rule he was the head of an army that expanded Egypt's power through the Arabian peninsula, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, parts of Iraq and Turkey before being pushed back by the combined power of the Ottomans and their European allies.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Lady Waiting

The Egyptian Museum was built under French direction and the Franco-Pharaonic statues who stand guard over the main door reflect the French influence. This was one of the first purpose-built museum in the world and when the new museum is built, it will be put to a new use.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Move Over Ronald

On the way home from a horse auction at the Egyptian Agricultural Organisation, we were all starving and looking for someplace to grab a bite to eat. As we drove through Ain Shams we found a big red sign for Amo Hosny (Uncle Hosny) a chain of sandwich shops that, despite the interesting spelling on the sign, serve some excellent food. Amo Hosny's been written up on some blogs and in Egypt Today as having some of the best burgers in Cairo, and I personally think that they are pretty good. The meat has a distinctive Egyptian flavour from the spices, the buns and vegetables are fresh, and the french fries are excellent. The bill for burgers, fries and Cokes for three of us was less than one cheeseburger plate at Lucilles and for one was half of the cost at MacD's. Not bad, Amo Hosny.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The One and Only

The Mogamma is modern Cairo's labyrinth of bureaucracy. Foreigners renew visas there and Egyptians apply for passports, birth certificates or any other documentation there. All who must enter in do so with great reluctance, knowing that their exit might be hours later.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not Just For Tourists

The Giza Pyramids are also a favoured place for school trips for the children here. Some squealing and laughing schoolgirls find camel riding pretty exciting.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Give Me A Kiss, Moses

While visiting Giza with some friends who were winding up a trip to Egypt, we made the requisite pilgrimage to the panoramic point to take some photos. Despite no plans to go camel riding, the girls succumbed to the charms of Moses the camel and his handler. Moses does seem to be genuinely fond of Omar.

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