CAIRO RAW 6: The Streets -a famous bazaar and the Heineken conundrum.

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

Cairo looking down narrow street (1 of 1)

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

CAIRO MAP CLOSE ON KHAN AL KHALILI AREAclose 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.

Cairo corner talaat haarb (1 of 1)CAIRO street random lot (1 of 1)CAIRO street clothing contrast (1 of 1).



Cairo Raw 5 The Streets…continued

The streets of Cairo began at the airport. “Okay, I thought “classic pea soup fog” as our flight from Rome came in for the landing.

It was already a dark November evening-lights from planes, the airport, the city beyond, had a blur effect.

going down the ramp from the cabin to the tarmack-to board the bus to the terminal

My eye catches the huge billboard with the current Egyptian leader’s face on it….

But at same instant the visual was overpowered by the scent of the “soup” we saw out the window of the plane a few minutes before.

It was everything Egypt was is and will be

human- industrial waste-, human – industrial fire, animal waste, animal sacrifice, animal toil, cars and emissions, Nile airs…everything …here…that’s ever been is in the

scent of this brew. People have talked about the air of Cairo when you first inhale. They’re right. Not like any air known to me.


Cairo airport: just outside the terminal entrance/exit.CAIRO man in white robe (1 of 1)A figure in white: many men-many at the airport wore white or dark tan versions of the traditional men’s robe.