There is a little spot off Midan Victoria in Maadi that is an expat oasis. I can’t give out the name for fear of libel action from the management, or collectively from it’s patrons so all names have been changed to protect the guilty. I am a member so I guess I fall into that guilty category too.
It’s a busy wee spot with no airs or graces and all the better for it. The bar staff are mostly Sudanese and quite simply the best in Cairo, you see the patrons of this fine establishment like to imbibe of the odd tipple, no scratch that, copious amounts, yet the staff manage to keep smiling no matter how crazy it gets, and it is these same patrons who give the place it’s unique character.
First off there is the “Forest Gump Brigade”. Now I have never been to America and I thought Tom Hanks was portraying a fictional character in this movie, how wrong was I. Now these guys are easy to spot, baseball caps depicting various American sports teams, and if it is a big night they dress up and wear the caps the right way round.
For some reason they all have that southern drawl which i never believed could possibly be a real accent until now, and bodies pumped up from the gym. Their conversation can be somewhat limited and ping pong seems to be a serious subject. Fortunately I have little dealings with this group as I am usually there with my husband so they just nip over for a chat when he heads off to the loo. I think they may be there to chase women? Girls take note!
The second and by far the largest group are the golfing buddies. Now it may not be fair to dump all these guys together as they are an eclectic bunch but there is a common bond. White feet. Yes it’s sad but true, and not a good look. They return from wherever they have been playing that day faces and forearms freshly pink and change out of their shoes to display white ankles with a very fetching tide mark. It’s at this point I would like to put forward a motion to the club management to ban this group from changing into flip flops. If the management took this motion on board it would significantly reduce the trauma induced by the combination of the white feet, curling toe nails and the sprinkling of hair wrapped around said toes on display.
Being a member of the Irish community I may be slightly slewed in my perception of the third group. This is made up off construction industry professionals and as is the case worldwide the Irish are represented in significant numbers. In fact Celts of all persuasion are highly visible, at the risk of leaving myself open to abuse I am tempted to include the Yorkshire brigade in this group as they don’t appear to be members of the English contingent ( correct me if I’m wrong ). This group punches well above their weight, for although relatively small in number they are the loudest, most talkative and quite possibly generate a disproportionate income per head in bar takings.
The next group are the teachers. Now I am not a great fan of teachers, bear in mind I am a catholic from Ireland so no more needs to be said. However these teachers are a completely different breed. Mostly they were backpackers in their previous life and intelligent ones at that. They figured out teaching let’s you continue traveling and get paid along the way. It is only the really smart ones who choose Egypt as they have it sussed that no where else has holidays like the Egyptians. Throw in the bird flu, swine flu, the revolution and the upcoming elections and they may manage to work 6 months out of 12.
On to the oil companies. This group includes representatives from Shell, BP, Apache, Dana, BG etc and provides the comedic entertainment. Some of them overlap the previous categories especially the golfing buddies, and when combined with the Yorkshire element well let’s just say they could be on the stage. There is a certain Mr Fish (name changed to protect the guilty) who would give Peter Kay a run for his money.
Take note, a word of warning, be careful where you sit. If you choose to venture into this abode do not on your first visit sit at the tables on the right as you come through the door. These are reserved for distinguished members as is the first section of the bar on your left. There are no names on the seats but this section requires speedy service and will not tolerate soft drink patrons interfering by distracting the bar staff on pointless time consuming missions.
Finally, there was a certain TV show in the eighties called “Fraggle Rock ” for those of you old enough to remember, and for our younger viewers think the “Muppets”. The ambiance upon entering this exclusive venue leads you to believe you are on stage with these real life characters, and when you leave you may well believe you are a Muppet.
NOTES: This is a work of fiction any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely a coincidence. The author reserves the right to …blah blah and if you have not been to this secret venue then do so, bring the kids, there is an excellent play area, ice cream section, free wifi, pool tables, big screens for sporting events, decent food and excellent service too.