A free day in Cairo

Tuesday 27 January 2009 – Cairo, Egypt

The Grand Hotel, Cairo
The Grand Hotel, Cairo

Chris and I wandered down to Midan Talir and found both the American University in Cairo Bookshop and Cilantro, one of a chain of most un-Egyptian cafes (it has its own newsletters and calendars of arts and cultural events around the city and the country) that actually (according to Chris) did a decent double espresso (I had, foolishly, a latte which still tasted of UHT milk). It also had fresh sandwiches and cakes – we shared a very wicked slice of chocolate tart before heading across the road where I spent about $150. Chris bought another Elizabeth Peters novel that he’d not previously encountered.

Vegie stall, Cairo style
Vegie stall, Cairo style
Kristapha at Cilantro, in Cairo
Kristapha at Cilantro, in Cairo

Chris then headed back the Egyptian Museum and I strolled around the town looking for a copy of the book of David Roberts’ nineteenth century paintings of Egypt and the ‘Holy Lands’. After searching every bookshop in the downtown area (lots of medical texts but few of interest to general visitors) I ended up back at the erstwhile Nile Hilton where, after prompting a search by a shopkeeper, a copy was finally produced. Given that until today I’d seen it at every tourist site and souvenir shop in the country but decided I’d get it in Cairo to save carrying it – typical!

Geoff and Carol left today for Jordan – they are visiting Petra and Jerusalem before returning to Melbourne. The remaining eight of us returned to GAD for dinner – all the courses arrived together, but there’s no denying that it is great value and, in Egyptian terms, good quality.

Chris, David, Anita and Judy at GAD on our last night in Cairo
Chris, David, Anita and Judy at GAD on our last night in Cairo
Adam, Ellen and Chris at GAD, last night in Cairo
Adam, Ellen and Chris at GAD, last night in Cairo

After dinner I showed the others how to go about buying their ice creams before I headed off, with Chris in tow, to purchase a pretty outrageous pair of cowboy boots.

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Man selling a much-needed Egyptian bit of kit - the duster
Man selling a much-needed Egyptian bit of kit – the duster
Man selling a much-needed Egyptian bit of kit - the duster
Man selling a much-needed Egyptian bit of kit – the duster

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