CAIRO RAW 4: The Streets….continued

Street art-art of the street

Downtown Cairo is deja vu-especially at night

mud, garbage, loose bricks, sand, cars…always cars….

that feeling anything can happen-

feels like New York City of the 1970s-the period Patty Smith evokes.

you feel rougher edges and a ferment in streets fanning out from Tahrir .

There’s graffiti from the last several years of sporadic uprisings in the streets

and “sleds” like football players use to practice “hitting” wrapped with barbed wire

 strewn near busy intersections and sidewalks

They look random like they’re part of a construction site except

this is the constuction -a barbed sometimes physical barrier that doubles as random street art with possible sinister undertones

 they’re there-sort of just waiting….in case you need them..for the next time.

but people don’t seem to notice them…they’ve seen it all and will see it again.

We don’t photograph these sculptures…do anything…but note them as we crossed them

Downtown you see tags commemorating dead zealots, themes and fantasies

near the American University, by the Armenian church, under bridges,

on a side street building


The Great God Horus


CAIRO RAW 3 The Streets

Impressions ..people, animals, the sounds, the traffic…intoxicating….

all those things you’d expect “Egypt, Cairo” to be just from their sounds-

Visiting Cairo the way we did meant we ourselves had to make sense out of what we experienced on the streets.

 though seasoned travelers-my son’s been to 27 different countries, me 9 – we hardly took a photo the first few days-

as image-driven as the streets are……

CAIRO WOMAN MARKET SELLERWoman in the street market not far from the historical Coptic area a few miles from downtown.

Cairo dead dog out side Sadat Metro entrancedead dog in a carved out hole next to the sidewalk

outside Sadat metro Station-downtown

Yes “as image-driven,” or worthy as the streets of Cairo are…..for the first day we played it  stealth-as stealth as two Americans can be. We didn’t use our cameras. Didn’t use the phone to capture anything either. We just wanted to get the feeling for Cairo first see what the streets felt like.

And they ended up feeling good. We had young people ask to take selfies with us on Talaat Harb, in the Coptic area, some far from where tourists go area we walked through

a young man handed me a yellow flower

another near our sheesha place gave us a friendly greeting as he passed us on the sidewak

  2. These  rough sketches started on the first day during our fast from cameras and continued throughout our visit. incidents and images from the day. It’s  funny there’s no way to really prepare for the experience here. Before our trip I thought-Okay..Mexico City on steroids….but no….Cairo has it’s own speed and substances to fuel it. I also thought I’d play the artiste on this trip-have my sketch book, pens….find a spot to sit and record some impressions….Maybe it happens in Heliopolis but not in downtown Cairo…things are moving too fast and if you’re on the streets you’ve got to be prepared for the 180 degree spin things can take from moment to moment….  be… present....didn’t find that place to sit and sketch…so it was a nightly  recall back in our room at the Hilton Ramses-not hard considering how vivid things are here


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Cairo Raw (2)

No guides. no tours, no agendas.

We chose a window-early November-booked an alcove room- Ramses Hilton-downtown between the Nile and Tahrir Square.

 semi-brutalist strucure

-brutalist leanings from the unconscious- this isn’t Ando.

concrete and marble

nice people security a bank a casino good room service people from the gulf

though that will change once the New Cairo gets built

out towards the airport.

rooms with balcony’s at 20 stories up read the city from above like a hawk

you dive with a zoom and an understanding-

 consume hidden spaces

Is that the brotherhood’s old crib with a photo of it’s leader

in the courtyard no one but those with talons can see.

On the alert for secret charades about to be played-

Cairo in space and times…..

Cairo Raw  (2)