Friday, February 29, 2008

to the Desert!

I just don’t have enough information. To write anything about Egypt or Cairo that would be reasonable should take longer than a days' observation. It has intimidating depth, this city.

So-- gross generalizations out the window -- a little travelogue with some color:

On the first full day in Cairo we began a trip out to the Desert rd. on our way to Sadat City. Cairo is a city of 17 million (unofficially) with 7 Million commuting into the city (unofficially). Lot’s of traffic. The process of getting to the Desert rd. was slow, and 1/5 of the distance we were intending to travel took 1/2 the trip. On the way out there are things that remind you that Cairo isn't kansas....

The Desert Rd. was aptly named. I had never seen the desert, and this Rd. to Alexandria (which is 200km north) took us into into it. The abruptness of ‘City’ turns into of all things ‘Green Farm Land’ with labor and oxen, turning again in the span of 50 feet into endless gigantic golden desert... where there is nothing.

Or apparently nothing. As we drove past an inconspicuous if not wide sand dune I was told it housed the Egyptian airforce (and it is the inconspicuous sand dune in the actual picture to the left...) Yep. After Israel annihilated their airforce in one day in 1968, the Egyptians moved the planes under the sand and I was told they come squirting out of gates (which I saw) with wings folded and in one motion unfold the wings and fly... reminded me of larva turning into mosquitos.

I met some Turks...

and we ate well. No lunch -- but kebobs and pigeon for dinner.

One thing that I think I can generalize about; Cairenes enjoy relaxing. There was a pace in that coffee bar, laughter and backgammon and water pipes, that seemed essential to Cairo. There isn’t alcohol to speak of, and the apartments are too hot in the evening. These open breezy coffee bars (where they serve juice and water pipes largely), seem designed to slow the pace down and give people a chance to wait out the heat until it’s cool enough to return home comfortably.

I enjoy Cairo even though I don't understand it... but this is probably ok.
Unknown Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

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