Where Are We?
Trip Start Jun 02, 2008
143Trip End Jun 09, 2009
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Where I stayed
On our first afternoon in the city, we ate a lunch of lamb and apricot ravioli and arugula, mushroom, and anchovie salad. After that, my good friend and former roommate, Ramy, and some friends arrived in Cairo to join us. Ramy has some well-off family members here and they have welcomed us with the warmest of hospitality.
Our first night was spent enjoying a home-cooked, forty-dish feast at Ramy's uncle's house where Ramy was the guest of honour among thirty cousins, aunts and uncles. This was followed by one of his uncles taking us out for sheesha and sushi at Sequoia, an upscale club designed by Ramy's architect cousin. California rolls were not what I thought would accompany my anise flavoured sheesha in Egypt.
The following night, after a day at the fascinating and immense Egyptian Museum, and a night watching a great Seventies cover band at the Cairo Jazz Club, one of Ramy's cousins (the architect who designed last night's club) took us out to another of Cairo's premiere clubs, Sangria, for more sheesha and a 4:15 a.m. bedtime.
The night after that was spent on the Nile Maxim, a luxury restaurant cruiser on the Nile. Dinner was accompanied by live entertainment including one of Cairo's finest belly dancers. Ramy's family ensured that we had the best table in the house and Ramy, following the tradition of hospitality in his family, graciously picked up our (no doubt) astronomical tab.
Seeing the sights in Cairo has been interspersed with experiencing the overwhelming mass of humanity (and cars!) that is the heart of Cairo. Crossing the road here is a strange task. It is a feat which requires that the pedestrian reduce the world from three dimensions to one: the flow of traffic. It is a Buddhist game of Frogger whereby everything is reduced to this one dimension (plus the dimension of time). It does not seem to be something that one ever "gets the hang of," however. I've seen locals having just as much trouble as us. This death-defying task, the neverending cacaphony of car horns and air with a consistency somewhere between charcoal smoke and aerosol oven cleaner, have provided a jarring medium for our walk through Coptic Cairo, our trip to the souq (market) of Khan Al-Khalili, and our camel ride around the pyramids of suburban Giza.