27 October, 2011

I Got Dizzy Just Watching...

In a city where you can't always walk down the street without someone trying to sell you something, we recently got to enjoy a refreshingly FREE experience.  In fact, our entire evening was choc full of delightful new discoveries in Cairo.

The social coordinator at Scott's work organized a fantastic night for us which included visiting Al Azhar Park, eating some superfly Egyptian food, and watching a whirling dervish show (which was FREE.  I know!  I love free).

First of all, walking around Cairo, one comes to accept a certain amount of physical obstacles.  I am talking about animal poo, sandy dirt, and bits of garbage.  Thus our trip to Al Azhar Park was a lovely brief respite of cleanliness.  The ability to walk in a straight line without having to dart around illegally parked cars and the possibility of keeping your eyes on the sights rather than continually looking down to check for poo were both such welcome treats.

The park was built on a rubbish dump site in the 1980s.  When they built it they excavated tons of debris and discovered an ancient wall and other cool things like stones with hieroglyphics.  It is beautiful, lush, green; has amazing views of the city; and did I mention it is impeccably clean.  There is a lot of neat information about it here:


After walking around the park, we went to a rather fancy restaurant within the grounds where we ate delicious egyptian food and watched the sunset over the Mohammed Ali mosque.

We then went on a "20 minute walk" to the theatre for the whirling dervish show.  Our friends who guided us were 7 feet tall marathon speed walkers (I may exagerate here slightly, but honestly they walked really fast) so it really did take only about 20 minutes, but if it had just been Scott and I it would have been pretty near 45 minutes (and/or we would have caved and hailed a cab).

 The theatre where the show was held probably has some cool historical story too because it looked really old and was located in the Khan El Khallili market.  I unfortunately don't know the story so feel free to be less lazy than me and google away.  It was a very old stone building with 4 walls but no top.  For some reason they give the tickets to everyone for free.  Yes, I think I mentioned that.

The show began with fantastic musicians playing traditional instruments with great gusto, huge smiles, and cantagious dancing about.

Then came the whirlers.  Some of them wearing as many as 3 or 4 skirts and twirling for an unreasonable length of time.

It was a feast for the eyes and ears and a must-do for anyone that ever comes to visit me.  Seriously guys, get over here!

No comments:

Post a Comment