The descend into Cairo International Aiport was spectacular. Besides some bumpy air and unexpected curves we overflew the entire city – we could see the huge huge city in its grey-beige colour, the waterside of the Nile, the Egyptian Museum, Tahrir Square, the desert around. Amazing. Only by seeing it we could sense the smell and its rhythm.
Getting our visas and clearing customs went fast and so – after a highly appreciated cigarette in the hot sun – we got into a white cab to drive downtown. Now we could feel the rhythm of the city: endless traffic jams, self organizing traffic flow, the never ending sound of the hooters and a blustering driver – but after an hour we arrived safely at hour hotel right next to Nile.
The bell caption at the hotel entrance hesitated to welcome us – we most likely didn’t look like their “regular clientele”;-) But we’ve made it and after a refreshing welcome drink we underwent a 10 minute instruction to our hotel room … finally I kicked the butler out! Enough is enough;-)
For diner we went to La Bodega, Zamalek in the iconic Baehler Masion … a place I first went to last March. A beautiful dining room with the flair of the 20ies, an atmosphere which has nothing, really nothing to do with traditional Islam and most likely a spot where corruption, money laundering take place first hand. But nevertheless a wonderful place to start a trip to Cairo. Their food is divine and reasonable.
After dinner we walked up the lively street and vistited El Sawy culturewheel. It is an all-purpose, private cultural center and it’s considered one of the most important cultural venues in Egypt. According to Aljazeera, the center gets more than 20000 visitors monthly and its website receives approximately 150000 visitors/month.
It’s huge: art exhibits, theatre performances, panels on the current political events, indoor and outdoor dining, live music, bars, cafes, movie theatre, readings … and many happy people enjoying late evening hours during Ramadan. Very diverse range of people: male, female, young and old, business and leasure, wealthy and poor, straight and gay … The place was packed.
We left around midnight – still sweating …