They talk about the dustiness of Cairo and it is true, it is a dusty desert city much like Los Angeles or Phoenix to the power of 20. But I will be even more graphic for you: you get some crazy ass black boogers walking around Cairo. And do not blow your nose near people or in public and for god’s sake, especially not around people eating.
This guy below. I may be painting an unrealistic portrait of immediate post-revolutionary Cairo and Egypt with all these happy glowy images but this is the shit I saw. Maybe it is the shit I wanted to see. There is no absolute, objective truth in photography, but there is my truth, my take take on the world.
And here is my take: this guy was funny and we laughed our asses off.
These brothers were making falafel in this dirty alley, the rich aroma of the oil perfuming the air. There was no restaurant or store front in sight so I assume that they were delivering these to local vendors. They gave me one for free and refused to accept my money. They took some Marlboros of course. That falafel was of course the best, freshest, lightest falafel I have ever had. Straight out of the oil into my mouth.
And then I had to change film rolls with shiny greasy fingers.
I rode the subways in Cairo only a few times but I loved them. Well, I love subways in general and always try to take them when I can wherever I travel. The system in Cairo is super cheap, one pound (17 cents) for a one way ride. Received a lot of stares on the cars but that was to be expected.
This was taken at the station underneath Tahrir Square which is a major hub.
See that Ladies sign? I thought that it was pointing to the ladies room. When my train arrived and I was about to enter a car, a helpful passerby pointed to the next car and said in English, “please.” I looked inside the car that I had been about to enter. It was full of women, some pointing and giggling at me.
I remembered reading that Omar Sharif smoked a minimum of 50 cigarettes a day, sometimes breaking the three pack mark on good days. My immediate thought was bullshit. I smoke a lot, used to smoke a lot more, and a pack and a half a day is actually hard to do and takes a lot of time and effort. Omar, I love ya, but bullshit.
Then I arrived in Cairo. My God, they are smokers and I’m Korean. By the time I left, I was near to two packs a day. And the cigarettes are super cheap, of course, because the local Cairene wouldn’t be able to afford them. My Marlboros (from Switzerland) were about $1.10, a bit better than the $13 in New York.
Omar, sorry I doubted you.
The view of the Nile from the Semiramis Intercontinental. Good night, Cairo.