King of the Castle
Trip Start Sep 29, 2012
27Trip End Jul 01, 2013
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Back to school tomorrow so we decide to tick off another of the sites to see, in our leisurely circuit of Egypt's attractions, and head up through old Islamic Cairo to the citadel overlooking the city.
The site, a bit like a look-out far above the city, is reminiscent of the 'old town’s of European cities, with steep tottering cobbled lanes leading up to the vast mosque. We wander barefoot into the huge, high-ceilinged space inside, strewn with large rugs for visitors to sit on and gawp into the cavities above. The light streams through coloured glass gems in the domed ceiling, throwing dusty red and blue beams through the air, and glancing off hundreds of glass orbs suspended from the roof.
The citadel has the most incredible view we’ve seen yet: a panorama of the city stretching away, with smoke rising from chimneys and mingling with the haze, birds weaving over topsy turvy rooftops, a great game of 'spot my house', and in the distance the blue-grey form of the pyramids
It’s still Eid holiday, and this seems to mean that the entire young male population of Cairo have been turfed out of their houses and unleashed to run amuck on the streets. First amusingly then annoyingly, it becomes apparent we won’t be able to stand still for 1 minute as we explore the citadel before the hoard start to swarm around. Clicking of phone cameras, clamouring voices, clammy hands, cackling laughs, as we bumble down the hill back into town we pick up a crowd like a snowball gathering speed. The crowd reaches about 40 strong, all jostling and pushing eachother into us, throwing stones, grabbing and tugging us. At the time we have no choice but to ditch politeness and shake them off however we can, but the age of these kids (between about 8 and 14) is a sad eye-opener to the vicious cycle of harassment problems here: impressionable kids, learning from the guys they look up to, bored and left to their own devices on the streets.
We’ll try the citadel again another time.
A home comfort in the evening, when the guys and I find a good bar to watch Chelsea Man United. It’s funny to hear the sound of a roaring English crowd in a stadium somewhere of a chilly October evening, mixed with the yells of the riveted locals – equally enthusiastically cheering for either side and both in equal measure.
When do we cheer? Whenever there’s a goal.
- makes for happy supporters.