Mark Gillett

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Cairo Ramblings Continued

with 5 comments

My time in Cairo has come to an end. I spent my last day wandering the city again. I have to say I had no desire to visit some of the sights that I perhaps should have but the real city life is what I wanted to see.

I caught my bus to the centre, got a short taxi ride, then walked most of the day. I found myself never going more than a kilometre or so before stopping for a tea, or shwarma.

Streets of Hussein Azhar

Streets of Hussein Azhar

I then found myself talking to some great people…

One shopkeeper told me how slow the business is right now. How the TV in UK and US had made people scared. He asked me why I wasn’t scared. Why did I come to Cairo? We swapped Facebook addresses and just chatted about “stuff”. Another woman who I had met two days before helped me choose 3 scarfs. She was so helpful, beaming smile without a hint hassle. The next stop was in a little alley-way that had a few seats so I took one. I ordered a tea. It came in the usual style of a large glass with a little tray of sugar on the top and a spoon.. All delicately balanced on another aluminium tray. I then spotted a little girl playing with her father.. She saw me and hid her face in her fathers legs.. Then peaked round. She was dressed in beautiful red dress and had a strong dark eyes and jet black hair. She smiled and hid again.. Her father turned to me with a smile as big as his daughters. His name was Simone, hers Jasmine. The names fitted perfectly.

We chatted and within a few minutes more joined us. Probably around 7 in all.. And all wanted their photo taken with me. The alley led to a residential area. A beautiful courtyard of trees and high level apartments.. All shabby but characterful. I finished my tea, said goodbye and left.

Food sellers busy with football mania...

Food sellers busy with football mania…

There was a football match on at Midday and all the cafes were full.. Business was good and the food stalls were all doing a healthy trade with an array of Egyptian specialties. “The food is safe” I was told by someone who obviously thought I looked too apprehensive. I assured him I knew that and that I had eaten at the last one I passed. I just took some pictures and again chatted a bit then moved on. My day was full of little happenings.

I took a taxi back to my hosts apartment.. Friends from Cairo. We had supper and it was then then time to take my bus to Sharm for the flight the following day.. I sadly said my goodbyes.

My flight that would take me back to a different world. A world of control, CCTV, banks, business, brands and super malls. But I had my daughter to get back for to collect from school so I had such a beautiful reason to catch my flight.. And Christmas is coming.

I am now sat in Sharm with time to waste. My bus journey was not so good as the first.. The Koran was being chanted through the speaker system all night and there were too many security stops.. But it still went fairly quickly..

Now I have time to reflect, my time in Cairo was very special. I didn’t need the sights.. I needed to rest and see my friends and the real Cairo. I did both and had a very special time.. But I also had something else so beautiful happen…. So touched by my visit and more.

Footnote. If you want to travel somewhere then do it. If there is political unrest do proper research not the Foreign Office website. Cairo was not in the slightest bit dangerous. There was nothing to fear. London, New York, Tokyo, LA are all to be feared more. So unless there is a full scale war, get out an enjoy the world we live in.. 

Written by markgillett

December 14, 2012 at 12:46 am

5 Responses

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  1. Great photos!

    The Vagabond Filmmaker

    December 14, 2012 at 1:52 am

    • if we wouldn’t live in cairo already I would definitely go and visit after reading your article… yes, it is a fantastic city!


      December 14, 2012 at 7:06 am

  2. Your photos are beautiful and fascinating, but your sweet thoughtful writing shares the feeling of being there, and touches an entirely other chord within.


    December 14, 2012 at 5:07 am

    • Thank you Helen, that was lovely to read too!


      December 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

  3. You obviously enjoyed your trip, really pleased. Great writing and photos. Val


    December 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

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