Walk down any side street or alley in Cairo and you are entering residential neighborhoods, no street signs, no signs of any kind, dirt streets covered in trash, people drying laundry, sitting on stoops, drinking tea. And since you are entering their domain, swarms of children playing. Kids followed me wherever I went. Sometimes I could take their photo and stop them following me. The real trick I found out was to head into a cafe and order a shai. The cafes are the domains of adult men and the clamoring kids steer clear.
This is by no means a great image, a group photo of smiling kids, but the light was absolutely perfect in that alley and they glowed.
In the Coptic Quarter, I was told by the locals to not enter the warren of side streets without someone accompanying me. It was fine and people were friendly.
This mother and daughter were gorgeous.
The street cats. I have never seen more cats in my life than in Cairo. They rule the streets and live among the trash and rubble in the residential areas. People feed them though there is enough litter that there is no need for that. I was at a cafe somewhere near Tahrir Midan and one of the waiters laid out a plate of food on top of some boxes for the local cats. The kids do not play with them and they are pretty much ignored as I never saw anyone even looking at one, much less petting one. The cats were all extremely clean and healthy looking.
The cat goddess Bastet was worshipped in Bubastis with one temple even having mummified cats. I do not know the significance of the cat in the lives of Egyptians but they are tolerated, respected and were revered. There is a story of a Roman soldier running a cat over with his chariot and killing it. Despite the pleas of the local authorities, the mob descended upon the soldier and killed him.
Regardless of the history with occupying forces, I can guarantee you that Cairo is a vermin and snake free city.
Tags: 35mm summicron, Cats, Coptic Christians, Egypt, Kids, Kodak Tri-X, Leica MP 0.58, Street Photography, Tahrir Square | No Comments »