The Virginian

21 Jul

This post is a little belated, but better late than never.

Last weekend, Shaun and I met up with some of his (and soon to be my) coworkers at a restaurant/bar called The Virginian. It’s the hidden gems like this that are making me really start to love Cairo.

Getting to The Virginian is somewhat of a challenge depending on if your Saweh (taxi driver – thank you Arabic class) knows how to get to Mokattam. It’s a town on top of a mountain past the Citadel (which is still on the list of to dos) outside of Cairo. Cabbing there from Zamalek, we got to drive through lots of areas that I would like to see a bit more of. For example, we drove through the City of the Dead, which is a maze of catacombs. We also drove past Garbage city – a place where garbage is recycled without the organization of a government. By the way – if you are visiting Cairo – nileguide.com is my favorite site when researching things to see and do.

Anyhoo, back to the Virginian. Once we arrived, we weren’t quite sure if this was the right place. Walking in from the front, it seemed deserted. The building is old, with lots of dust covered tables and chairs. The paint is chipping off in lots of places, and the colors are all faded from a combination of sun and dust. But, once you get through the main entrance, you are rewarded with a giant patio overlooking all of Cairo. We got there just before the sun started setting. Beautiful.

The restaurant definitely doesn’t have any delusions of grandeur. Like I said – the place is old. I am pretty sure the only source of music was from a record player (you know, old school vinyl records) because the sound quality sounded like some one took a cell phone and turned it up as loud as it would go to the point where the words were all muffled and the bass was more like rattling dishes. Also, there are stray cats all over hanging out waiting for a nibble of some leftovers. And, we heard it “used” to be a brothel…

And, still, while these things may make the place sound sketchy, it really made for a great atmosphere. Like the Egyptian version of a great dive bar – a dive bar that has a magnificent view from a giant patio.

The menu is only in Arabic, so we just ordered the Chicken skewers and some Baba Ganoush seeing as how those are staples in pretty much any Egyptian restaurant. And some Stella – no, not the French Stella – Egyptian Stella that gives me some nasty hangovers. The food was good. And, the cats enjoyed our scraps.

There were two wedding couples who showed up at the Virginian while we were there. So, they were up dancing to the record player and making it a party atmosphere. Somehow, they learned Shaun’s name and kept trying to get him to join, which he eventually did. So much fun. I haven’t yet figured out why the bride and groom are seen out in public at supper time – shouldn’t they be at their reception? I have seen wedding couples at Al Ahzar park (another overdue post) around the same time. I’m intrigued.

Anyhoo, it was a great night. I will definitely be returning to the Virginian. We found out this week that Lexia is going to come to Cairo to shoot our engagement pictures! So – maybe this place will provide a backdrop?! So looking forward to that!

In other news, I start work on Monday! YESSSSS (does slow cha ching motion with both hands). And, Shaun and I leave tonight for Ayn Suhkna where we will be staying in a villa on the beach with about 10 friends! Lots of exciting things this week!

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2 Responses to “The Virginian”

  1. greekpyramid July 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    I soo wanna try this! great post 🙂

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