Stumbled upon a demonstration at the Mostashfa Hessian Hospital in Alexandria. These protesters were doctors and nurses at the hospital demanding the removal of the hospital administrator. Again, they asked if I was a photojournalist and when I said I wasn’t, they let me shoot.
You can see clearly that the women wear lots of heavy eye liner. Egypt is where black eye kohl was invented. It is so blazingly bright there in the desert that the eye liner functions much like the greasepaint under the eyes of football players.
This neighborhood’s name is associated with the massive archeological excavation uncovering Roman baths but it is also a normal residential neighborhood atop a somewhat hidden hill in the middle of Alexandria. I stumbled upon this neighborhood, was captivated by the friendliness in this warren of streets and then spent about two hours trying to get out of this hood and back into paved Alexandria proper.
Along the way, I found this gang of kids and their game of marbles. After the initial shock of seeing me in the street in front of their homes, they quickly got back to the business of play and ignored me.
There are several souqs in Alexandria, some of the famous, many of them catering to tourists. The only one I was able to explore was souq ibrahmiyya, near the Misr station. It is a food market and since this was Alexandria, featured lots of fresh seafood.
The friend I had made in Alexandria was a bit put out as I decided to go here and he spent the whole time watching where he was stepping to save his shoes. There ground was more liquid than solid with noxious fumes arising from the soup at our feet.
Wherever you are in Egypt, you can have the local cafe deliver tea to you at most any time of the day. Not all of the delivery guys are so friendly and expansive as this one was.
I love trains and trains stations. I cannot stop shooting the same shots again and again in different stations, the shots down the length of the station, the strong diagonals converging on the vanishing point, the structural web of girders and beams above and the strong directional light. Just simply love it.
Ramses station in Cairo is currently under construction and is a mess. If it wasn’t for a helpful local, I never would have found the ticket office nor my platform, there being no signs even in arabic and the office was in a temporary spot. Misr station in Alexandria is a great open air space with a couple of cafes. I could have spend a day there comfortably.
I took the train from Cairo to Alexandria and back again. One of the rides was on a pretty clean train with good air conditioning which would be a vital modcon in the summer months. The other train was a relic from the British Colonial period and had a good amount of the Egyptian desert within its walls. I’m sure that train travel in general in Egypt has not changed much since T.E. Lawrence’s time.
You cannot smoke on these trains. That just means that you can open up the doors while the train is moving to smoke.
This is the Ramses station, the less charming chaotic stop on the line.
The beautiful Misr station with its clean classic lines.
Egyptian men are of average height, but when they big, they are hulks. This guy that I met on the train was one such giant, gentle and well over six feet.
Alexandria is a stunning city and because of its layout, hard to encompass the its scale and sweep. It can feel like a provincial Mediterranean city at times with its fashionable boutiques and endless array of cafes. The French and Italian influence are strong here. In temperament, it is much more progressive and cosmopolitan than Cairo.
So much history has walked the shoreline here. Alexander the Great founded the city in 331 BC, the Greek architect Dinocrates receiving this project. Julius Caeser, Hadrian, Cleopatra, Napoleon; these are just some of the giants who have made their mark on this city.
The Italian architect Pietro Avoscani designed the Corniche, the promenade that runs the length of the waterfront. The seawall is build of these massive concrete blocks with rebar handles sticking out of them, most likely for the crane used in their original placement. The blocks and their handles give the feeling that the sea wall is nothing but the flotsam from some giant’s toy chest as the scale of these blocks is ginormous.
There are walkways underneath the actual shoreline road which I strongly recommend because there are not traffic lights on this thoroughfare for long stretches. And at night for some reason, most drivers choose not to turn on their headlights.