Shouk it to me. The Khan el-Khalili Market, Cairo

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What became obvious was that we had to deviate from the main street to find bargains and goods that were out of the ordinary. Behind these dresses, we discovered shelves full of bracelets made with paracord and beads. Great gifts for family and friends.

 

 

 

Markets are not only for shopping. I look behind and between the stalls to try to find interesting vistas that might attract my attention.

This staircase was one of those. I so wanted to see where they might lead, but I was uncertain if I would be intruding into a private residence or at worse falling off the back end, should the staircase lead nowhere.

 

 

 

Waiting for Godot or just customers? I will never know.

 

 

 

It was a ‘nativity’ scene that led us to the tourist section of this famous market. My colleagues and I had been wandering around the ‘local’ side for about 30 minutes and were actually on our way back to our car when we spotted this diorama and figured it might lead us to where we wanted to be. And it did.

 

 

 

This was the first shop that we walked into. I have learned over years of travel that if you find something you like…buy it.

I lost a pair of boots in New York back in 1978 when I said that I would buy them on my final day if I still had money. Well, I did have the money but I was never able to find the shop again.

Something similar occurred in Saigon(Ho Chi Min City) when I found a t-shirt that said “Vietnam. a country not a war”. As it was the first city on a lengthy tour, I did not buy it as I figured that I would find it in another market in a different city.

The stall-holder warned me that I would not, and he was right. That was several years ago and I still kick myself for not making the purchase.

Hence, when I found this shop, I decided that if I found what I wanted, I would buy it. For once the exchange rate was in my favour and the prices so reasonable that I did not have to feel “I might find it somewhere cheaper”. And as the prices were so reasonable, I did not try to barter with too hard. Perhaps as a result all three of us got gifts from the shop owner before we left.

 

 

 

All you need is a smile, a handshake and a calculator to make a purchase. This fellow spoke much better English than I did Arabic. When I asked him where he learned English, his response was an unexpected “In this shop”. But if you need sales, then I suppose speaking the common language of the majority of your customers helps.

 

 

 

I did not find out if these people were in costume or some sort of cultural attire.

 

 

 

We got to the market early, before the majority of the tour groups arrived. I have a suspicion that the prices changed when the groups arrived.

 

 

 

These 3 fellows saw my lens peeking out of a shop doorway. But instead of gesticulating and shouting, they encouraged me to take a picture. And I did.

 

 

 

Many stores had metal wares on display and my only wish was that I could flat-pack the items and fit them in my suitcase.

 

 

 

The guy on the bicycle was one of many delivery people who shot out of a side street bakery and rode off with produce balanced on their heads. Even though they were riding on cobbles I never witnessed them drop a single flatbread.

 

 

 

How the owner of this stall was able to find ANYTHING amazed me!

 

 

 

Outside, these sewing machines, which I assumed had been refurbished, were on sale.

 

 

 

My colleagues spent a LONG time in this bag shop. They shopped up a storm, while I sat quietly and enjoyed the breeze of the aircon in the corner.

 

 

 

Cairo is known as the ‘City of Minarets’ and this might just be one of those.

 

 

 

‘A cat may look at a king’? The kitten in the background was more focused on begging for scraps.

This phrase is an English proverb that means even someone of low status has rights. A cat may look at a king implying that all people have certain minimal rights by being alive.

 

 

 

Hard at work outside one of the many shops that sold metal items, predominantly made of brass.

 

 

 

Every line is carefully crafted by hand.

 

 

 

Just one of the many men dispensing coffee. He stopped and smiled as we sat at a coffee shop enjoying their coffee and snacks.

 

 

 

The day ended at an upmarket shopping mall which was the polar opposite of the market we had visited.

My colleagues wandered off to do some last-minute gift shopping and I decided to wait at this coffee shop. The only reason I chose Costa was it was next to the store we had agreed to meet at before going back to our hotel.

What I discovered the one of the best slices of cheese cake I have ever eaten.

A great way to end the day and also it was the final memory that I could add to all the others I had gathered after 6 weeks in Cairo.

 

 

 

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