I cannot tell you how amazing it was to be in the most beautiful mosques in Cairo as the calls to prayer sounded.
It is not so peaceful at this moment….Cairo never is a tranquil location, but this is a different kind of unrest.
Pray for Egypt.
Tag Archives: North Africa
Everything is sand colored. The streets are teeming with cars and buses. Male only cafes are the norm. There are men delivering tea and smoking sheesha on almost every corner.
I MISS CAIRO. Can you tell? I miss its craziness…how my head hurt after riding around in the smoggy traffic for too long…how sometimes I couldn’t sleep because it was too loud…how I saw photographs everywhere…how I didn’t understand anything anyone was saying around me besides thank you (“shokran”)…
I am sure some of those Cairo quirks are things that would totally overwhelm me after a certain amount of time, but for now, they will always remind me of an absolutely delightful couple of weeks. After leaving a place, you can dream about it, and your adoration for the location can only grow from there. At least that is how it almost always works for me.
Only one more post after this packed full of Cairo/Rollei 35s/Dispobable love!
P.S. Now you can look AND LISTEN! Hopefully the tunes well help to you get in the mood…of course each post has a mood. First try: Wide Eyes by Local Natives… TJ put it on my “Abby goes to Cairo” playlist!
During the train ride to Alexandria, I saw the following things:
-white birds in trees, which was unusual.
-women carrying things on their heads, which was not unusual.
-greener land, which is not present in Cairo.
-boys surrounded by mist in tiny boats fishing on the Nile.
-empty/unfinished apartment buildings, so very typical.
-dried up palm trees, or maybe dust covered…like most Egyptian things.
-skivvies, as Kate says, hanging from balconies to dry.
Tea was served. I listened to Laura Marling and Miles Davis. Two hours later I was in Alexandria.
How do I explain Alexandria to you? A mini Cairo some might say, with Mediterranean flair of course. It was not as romantic as I had dreamed. Nonetheless, we drank fresh juice, went to the beautiful and modern library, saw ancient artifacts, rode in a lot of taxis, explored the eery hallways of the catacombs (walking on boards hovering only a few inches above water), and ended the day eating Chinese on a hotel rooftop. No complaints here!
Shopping in Egypt was one of my favorite things to do, and for those of you that know me, that comes as no surprise! There were so many intriguing things unique to Middle Eastern culture that I fell in love with. The lanterns were my fave. Good thing the punk selling them at the best stand would not go down on his price as much as I wanted. Who was he kidding?!
I bought perfume… it was concocted before my eyes. I bought exquisite drinking glasses for my future glamorous kitchen (hahaha). My mom swears they must be toxic, there is so much gold on them. I bought boxes made of antique wood for love letters. The camel bone man, a good friend, sold me so many things, I can’t even remember all I purchased.
Good thing bargaining is an absolute must, or else I would have been in trouble! Egypt is definitely not so cheap. Anyways, I love having to work for a good price on a purchase. I planned my shopping trips carefully, because it is so easy to get caught in the trap of buying junk made in China (wait, I thought I was in Cairo?)! International market shopping is hard, I’ll admit. There are Pashmina scarves EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD IN EVERY MARKET EVER, don’t be fooled!!! Why are they are so tempting?? Good grief.
All of that to say, I LOVE THE KHAN EL KHALILI!!!!!
In addition, please listen to this Oum Kalthoum music…she is the DIVA of Arabic music… she is still Egypt’s favorite singer…basically the Ella Fitzgerald of Egypt. Her music will always remind me of Cairo, thanks to the film I watched on the plane en route to Egypt.
This is going to be the first of a few posts I want to do containing my Rollei 35s photos from Cairo, Egypt. First, let me tell you a little bit about my friend, Mr. Rollei. The camera was a wedding gift to MY PARENTS from my grandparents, and it is an anniversary edition! Dad almost did not let me take it with me on the trip, but I was like, “What?!? Daddddd!!! I have tooo!” and he finally let me. I guarded it like my very own child and it arrived safely home with me. Before I left, I was so inspired by Alexandra Grecco’s images from her voyage to Mexico, and I got even more excited about using Mr. Rollei overseas!
These photographs are from a felucca ride we did on the Nile…it was so nice! We brought our dinner on board, relaxed for over an hour, told childhood stories, made “you are in denial” jokes (get it?!?), and watched the sun set. Cairo seemed much quieter from the water.
Cairo, Egypt is a city of 26 million people, the largest in Africa, and the task of blogging about it is overwhelming! Seeing Cairo is an adventure! Middle Eastern culture is mesmerizing. The mosques are gorgeous, simple and intricate all at once…sand colored to match the landscape. The markets are amazing, and I want to lug home a huge lantern… although I am not sure how feasible that is. The traffic is absolutely wild…honking is one big conversation… seriously, a language of its own! Women are mostly covered and men hold hands sometimes. The food is delicious; hummus has a whole new meaning to me now. I’ve found people to be so gracious; I walked away with free fruit this morning, and paid the man back hours later…totally fine. You get served tea while shopping. We are staying in an apartment, far away from any other “tourists,” getting the real deal. The call to prayer sounding throughout the day will most assuredly wake you in the morning. Cairo is extremely polluted, but the light is amazing. The way the Egyptians function is mind-boggling…you have to come here to know what I’m talking about. I screamed when I saw the Nile. AND I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN THE PYRAMIDS YET. AND I am going to go to the biggest mall in Africa… to their multistory H&M. Oh yeahhhh.
I bring you these images of Cairo fresh off my camera. Almost midway through the trip, I am so happy to share them with you! There will be more by the end of my time, I am positive, but here is some of what I am seeing every day.
Welcome to Cairo, my friends!
Although it doesn’t feel a thing like Christmas here, Happy Christmas Eve!!