Friday, 12 April 2013

Modern Cairo

Cairo's wickerwork tower
Monday 25 February:  The title 'Modern Cairo' is a tad misleading as most of the modern city is stuck in a time warp, middle of the last century. Today I'm climbing Cairo Tower to get a panoramic view of the city but the pollution is so bad I can't even see the minarets of Islamic Cairo let alone the pyramids at Giza. As compensation there are good views across the Nile to Tahir Square, the Egyptian Museum and, if you look carefully, a block of white masonry on the riverside, The British Embassy.
Saturday 2 March: Back in Islamic Cairo I'm visiting the former home of a British Major, Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, who was an obsessive collector of Egyptian artifacts. Now a museum, he bequeathed his collection to Egypt and in 1945 King Farouk honoured him with the title of Pasha. Several scenes from the he James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me were shot in the reception area and on the rooftop terrace where you can just imagine Roger Moor allowing 'Jaw's' sidekick to drop to his death after loosing his grip on 007's tie.
Thursday 7: Cafe Riche, the long established meeting place of Egyptian intelligentsia, is my restaurant of choice in downtown Cairo, but today I'm taking an old Glasgow tram (97th mode of transport) to the Belgian built northern suburb of Heliopolis, a place old allied soldiers would have known well. It's my last night in Cairo and two bars on my mini pub crawl are reminiscent of that era.
Friday 8: Taking the Metro to Cairo's newly named 'Al shohadaa' station I get the train from Cairo's magnificent station. I'm off to Alexandra and the Mediterranean coast.
Slideshow of Modern Cairo.

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