Khan El Khalili and Tahrir Square

6 Jul

This past weekend, Shaun and I stuck around Cairo since I hadn’t seen much of the city prior to that. On Friday afternoon, Shaun and I went to the Khan El Khalili, which is a Bazaar in Islamic Cairo that has been there for 700 years. That’s older than EVERYTHING in the US. Anyhoo, it was very enjoyable to walk around and look at all the Egyptian goods and haggle with the vendors to get the best price. Since the uprising, there has been a drop in tourism in Cairo, so the Khan was relatively empty. Because of this, the vendors saw Shaun and I coming from a mile away and were kind of up in our grill pushing random things towards us saying “Egyptian price” and “I’ve got what you need.” This was somewhat annoying, but not enough so to ruin my mood. I love shopping.We bought this beautiful tapestry:

After almost all our money was spent, we took a break towards the front of the Khan for some juice and Shisha. As I’ve mentioned before, Egypt has fantastic juice. This was my first Egyptian Shisha, and the first time I’ve smoked any sort of tobacco in a few years, so I was feeling VERY relaxed and quite light headed after that. So, we got a cab and  called it a day. It was the most enjoyable day in Cairo so far.

On Saturday evening, Shaun and I went to a restaurant downtown with our friend John called Felfela. Apparently, it is a chain, but the food is still very good. We got lots of Egyptian food. The food here is very good, for the most part. It’s a good thing I love Hummus and carbs. After Felfela, we went to a bar called El Hareyya. Both the restaurant and the bar are just a few blocks from Tahrir Square. The atmosphere at the bar was very interesting. I wouldn’t even really call it a bar, because there was not an actual bar in it. It was more like a giant room with florescent lights and many tables. You sit down at a table, and a guy comes around with beers, and just sets them in front of you without saying anything. When he sees your beer getting empty, he comes around with more. My kind of place. I am not sure what happens if you don’t like beer. Then you just don’t go there, I guess.

Being downtown was a mix of emotions. I felt kind of uncomfortable walking around between the restaurant and bar (lots of stares and such), but since I had both Shaun and John with me, I knew I was safe. Then, being in the bar so close to Tahrir, it was hard not to get swept up in talks of the uprising and what it all means. There are lots of different opinions, and I am not sure what mine is. But, I will say that I felt like I was really in the midst of historical events that will be studied for years to come. That is extremely exciting and humbling at the same time.


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