Saturday, February 18, 2012

Alley Wandering

Find life experiences and swallow them whole. Travel. Meet many people. Go down some dead ends and explore some dark alleys. Try everything. Exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life.
Lawrence K. Fish, American businessman

One of the great pleasures of Cairo is wandering the alleys of its various business districts. Retaining the tradition established centuries ago, multiple companies belonging to the same industry congregate in a specific area, cheek by jowl. It certainly makes shopping easier if you are looking for something specific.

In comparison to going to the lifeless department stores in the homeland, I much more enjoy the experience of meandering my way through an area, admittedly usually in circles, in the fresh air and sometimes in the rain as today, looking into each small shop. One gets an immediate sense that there is energy here; nothing could be staid when a rocking chair sits atop a china cabinet. And although my trusty aide-de-camp accompanied me on this trip, I felt completely safe in my meanderings -- as I have always felt in the past. Ilhumdulila!

I get a kick out of going to areas of the city that most Cairenes don't know exist, such as the cardboard box district where almost any size can be bought for around a dollar each, and I enjoy the surprised looks I get when explaining to a local where to find something that they've been searching for.

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