Inolvidable Cairo

A compilation of tales, thoughts and images from the never-ending adventures...Click on any of the images for a blown-up version. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Another Saturday in the Wadi Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Angola...That's not in the Middle East...

Brian took about 6 weeks in the early Spring for an assignment in Angola.

Although I had been there approximately six months before, I was impressed with the feeling of progress that I observed in the capital city. There was a bit more "livability" to the place, and I felt that was a sign of optimism.

After ruthless colonization which only ended in 1975, the Angolans suffered 27 years of civil war, ending only in 2002. In terms of progress, from the levels of devastation that this country is trying to rebound, it is possible to believe that six months of peace time can go a long way to reversing the ravages of civil war, and I felt that I was experiencing that and was glad to be part of it.

Then I visited the province which was essentially the front line for the decades-long conflict. I visited Kuito for one week, and it was like being on the set of the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy". The city was destroyed, but in a manner very much unlike most of all the modern conflicts of the 20th century. Since neither group had any heavy artillery, they simply spent years firing on each other with Kalashnikovs, and entire buildings (essentially the entire town, as the front line simply shuffled back and forth across the town) were picked apart bullet by bullet, until nothing but rubble remains.

This was a diversion from life in Cairo, no doubt, but one which we feel is important to share. You can see a picture of Kuito's main drag below.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Angolan provincial capital, Kuito Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Islamic Cairo

One of the most mesmerizing experiences in all of Egypt is the continual buzz of Cairo's Islamic sections, most reflected in the constant whirr of the Khan El Khalili shopping district near the Al Azhar Mosque. Al Azhar represents the bastion of conservative Sunni Islam, and every single Koran that is published in Egypt is reviewed by special readers from this mosque to ensure that 100% of all the grammar and the wording is entirely correct. They take this very serious, and they have for about 10 centuries now...

The area was most heavily populated and used suring the Mamluk era, from roughly the end of the 1100s to the middle of the 1500s, and it is the region that holds the bazaar which delights so many tourists. The one fantastic difference between this bazaar and most of all the other "old" markets in the Middle East, is that this one is still frequented daily by more than one million Cairenes. The sights, sounds and smells of this area are absolutely intoxicating...and I'm not referring to the exhaust fumes from the cars stuck in traffic bumper-to-bumper with donkey carts and pedestrians. Plenty of fun, haggle-rich shopping and good Arabic coffee to be had...