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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Cairo sensory input

Sometimes sensory input other than through the 10.1" screen and the headphones is necessary.

I had a great day of sensory input yesterday riding the big old Egyptian buses and the metro and mooching around the ancient market streets full of traditional spices, oils, fruits and modern Chinese cheapo rubbish! All the mosque azzans going of at slightly different times! Cacophony! Such contrasts!

I bussed and metroed up to the city from my home and met my friends at Orabi metro.  We walked over to Turgoman to check some bus details, then along to a koshari and pasta joint for a fine repast.  Decisions made, we returned to Turgoman for yours truly to purchase a ticket for a night bus for my next cross-Egypt journey (for my first post-revolution 'adventure'!) before repairing to Ramses for train details and ticket purchasing for my friends' onward journeys.

After that, we taxied over to Khan El Khalili and partook of liquid refreshment of the chai variety at an qwha where one of my friends was known to the proprietor and sadly found out that a trip to Tanta to meet a Sufi master was to be held on Friday but she was leaving Cairo on Thursday.  My friends went for a visit to Al Husseiny mosque but I didn't accompany them as I have been before and let's just say didn't feel I needed to repeat the experience.  It was right on prayer time so one of my friends stayed for that.

We then took a very long walk back through the Tentmakers' area, back through to Attaba where my friends were staying - checked the net to see if there was any music at Makan that night, but there wasn't.  Off to Talaat Harb and the touristy but nice Falfelas for tameya, omlette, and other things I can't remember the name of.

Back down the Talaat Harb to Tahrir where I descended to the metro and continued my homeward -journey.

We saw some people gathered on the central roundabout at Tahrir but nothing untoward appeared to be happening.  If we hadn't known about the tragic incidents of Sunday, as three foreigner-women, we wouldn't have 'guessed'.  We didn't pick up any bad atmospheres at all.  One man who had given us directions at one point asked us if we felt safe in Cairo, and we did.

If you are in Cairo, just play a bit safe, keep away from any obvious demonstrations or random large gatherings of people.  We didn't go into the Khan El Khalili itself, but there were tourists around including one coach load of people who looked as if they were all about 90 years old and none of them looked alarmed about anything (such as can be detected through a bus-window anyway!)

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