Easy to see how starry-eyed, mystical..even euphoric people visiting Egypt can get-especially if they’re in the tour package bubble-or ushered around by friends who live there….luxor, the red sea resorts, some pyramid sites near Cairo, a day in Cairo hitting the main visitor sites… Saladin’s fortress, the Coptic area’s ancient churches, and…… Khan Al Khalili…the famous market:
labyrinth streets with small shops ..the main visitor’s part is pretty much covered from above–it’s darker…that’s where Fishwali’s the famous awa or coffe house is located.
the parts of the market orientated more towards the locals is not covered it looks something like this only there’s a million people crammed into the central space and the sides would be lined with tables displaying basic items like t shirts, jeans, sandals- and the sales people behind
We of course went . It was impossible to walk there from downtown. We grabbed a car service outside on the street-a 50 ish looking man with a silver kia…we lucked out Osama took us to the market and we felt good about hiring his services to visit the Dahshur, Saqqara and of course Giza sites. We had him take us to Khan Al Khalili but didn’t have him wait.
It’s scene. Though not the happiest for the Egyptian business. No one’s coming anymore. You see a few buses appear at the edge of a large open square in front of huge famous mosque and lined on one side by restaurants with friendly but aggressive touts getting groups from the buses when they came filled with Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Aussies….
part of the day in the life we had at Khan Al Khalili
close on a part of a map we used.
……and the Heineken conundrum…….
in the first couple of days we were in Cairo we were approached three times by a cab driver, a street hustler….
to buy Heineken in the duty-free shop reserved for foreigners.
The strange thing no one asked after the two days we we’re allowed to shop at the duty free store…no one ever asked us to buy beer again. How did they know …how could they read the time we had left to buy something, did they read our auras? strange.
We we don’t recommend visitors here getting involved in unlawful transactions-
We didn’t know why an Egyptian couldn’t buy Heineken-maybe the law is meant to protect the home grown-birth of beer land.
Egyptian beer-Stella-is great-an excellent Egyptian beer. It’s perfect for the Cairo climate. It’s about 5% so “light” compared to the craft brews we have.
We had it at the three restaurants we ate dinner in downtown-Cafe Riche, The Greek Club Restaurant and one that had a live pigeon in a cage on a raised wall next to our table.
They were all off Talaat Harb, the big downtown shopping street seen in the photos below.