Markets, shopping and Sufi dancing

Trip Start Mar 20, 2006
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Saturday, June 3, 2006

Time to explore Old Cairo with a bit of shopping, Sheesha smoking and some Sufi dancing...

We started off in Khan al-Khalili. This is Cairo's biggest and oldest market where you can buy anything. A lot of it is quite tacky but its all fun. I bought a pearl/ wooden box and Amy and I bargained for some jewellery. Amy got a thick silver bracelet and I got a silver Egyptian necklace. Andrew bought some cheap t-shirts for 50 pence each!

We then meandered around little alleyways to Fishawi's Coffeehouse. This was a traditional Egyptian café called an ahwa. People spend hours at these places drinking shai and smoking sheesha. Fishawi's was decorated in traditional Egyptian style. Many people were smoking sheesha's and playing backgammon. We ordered some Egyptian tea which was lovely. Very minty!

We went to an Egyptian mall near our hotel where there were row upun row of shoe shops. I bought a pair for £7.00 and Amy stocked up on clothes. Bargains!

We spent the afternoon at the hotel and then we went back into old Cairo to watch some Sufi dancing for free! They are whirling dervishes like they have in Turkey. They believe that by spinning constantly they will achieve a higher union with God. The Egyptian Sufi dancing that we saw was different to the Whirling Dervishes in Turkey. It was very colourful and there were many more people involved. It was more entertainment than religious ceremony here. They were excellent and how they could spin for so long without falling down is a mystery. The first guy who whirled on his own seemed to be having a very religious experience. The rest of the guys were excellent entertainers. For a free experience, this was amazing. We even tried to donate some money at the end but no-one was around to take any!

We had dinner at Sabaya which was in the Hotel Intercontinental. It was a contemporary Lebanese restaurant with a trendy minimal interior. Food was good and the wine was still dodgy but much better than the Nile Hilton's terrace!
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