Walk Like An Egyptian

Walk like an Egyptian

Have you ever tried to, walk like an Egyptian I mean?  “Back in the day”……..my  son says that when I refer to anything pre 21st century….yes back in the day I tried to. I remember it clearly, coming home from the students union with my then date for the night, and now current husband, I’m wondering if that’s where it all started?

Back then ” The Bangles” were in the charts (just checked that out on wikipedia 1986 sounds about right….God I’m old) and it was the perfect song for sozzled students on a night out. Egypt was a distant romantic place full of history “the cradle of civilization” and from then until we shipped out here I never really thought about Egypt again.

No, that’s not true, I went to a fortune teller once, as you do, waiting to hear my destiny. She was pretty good which freaked me out at the time, and one of her predictions was I would go to live in a country I’d never been to. Egypt did appear on that list of possibilities but I ruled it out in favor of more exotic locations……i think Barbados topped that list, and I did actively seek work on cruise ships to enhance my chances of this destiny being fulfilled…..But hey

Egyptians, and their walking technique, I’ve touched on this before, the aimless slow shufflers in the Wing Mirror Options post… but this week it dawned on me how this technique has evolved. It’s a bit of a long story but sure your not going anywhere. I went to the Khan el Khalili. Not on my normal mission of acquiring Azza Fahmy jewelry (copies of course) from the crack den up three flights of stairs, no, but to purchase trophies for the rugby club.

Yes I lead a very exciting and varied life. Anyway, I had got a contact through a friends of a  friends, partners brother…….thats how it works here, and set off down the ring road. Just as we were driving under the Maadi flyover the truck in front ground to a halt, par for the course, but next thing the driver got out which did attract my attention. 

He began his slow shuffle Egyptian style walk to the centre of the road and started to remove metal railings that were blocking his path, not at any great speed as you can imagine, and obviously we sat comfy in the car and watched. Why were there metal railings in the middle of the road? oh that’s easy because on the flyover above our heads an oil tanker had just crashed through the barrier and was hanging over the side. Not all of the tanker was hanging over, just the cab, the tanker part must have been heavy enough to hold the rest in place. 

Job completed, and road cleared he sauntered back to his cab and drove under the hanging tanker to safety. Without a thought to possible consequences we did likewise, in fact on reflection I never even thought to avoid driving under this catastrophe, no  I was too busy texting the hubby to tell him all about it. He did ring back immediately, not out of concern for my well being, just to enquire did I get a good photograph!

So on to the Khan. I met my “contact” who I’d had dinner with previously so he was easy to spot. Lets call him “Lee” to keep it anonymous, he’s a Londoner, but half Egyptian who’s family have a long history in the Khan,  he does a bit of wheeling and dealing as they say,  but don’t be picturing Del Boy ….he is much more Ali G……and simply delightful company…..”sweet innit” and of we headed. Now I’ve been to the Khan quite a few times, but I was lost within minutes. It didn’t matter though as “Lee” is a tall guy and combined with the fact that everyone knew him it made for a unique experience, no hassle whatsoever! None! Nada…I’m considering asking if he would provide a personal escort service….maybe I should rephrase that!

Down the back streets, through some seriously dodgy entries, upstairs, well some rickety steps, a cup of tea, a cigarette,  a bit of bargaining, and on to the next place. I’m here an hour and I haven’t seen anything remotely resembling a trophy. Now it’s starting to dawn on me I’ve just had a near death experience, I’m drinking seriously strong tea and smoking Egyptian cigarettes and it’s getting harder to keep my balance as I maneuver around the piles of crap, the water dousers who sprinkle the pavements (does anyone know why they do that?) and the small army of cats on our tail. I am………. WALKING LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

PS…… I got the trophies in the second place, very reasonable too thanks “Lee” I got  40 Galebayas in the next place……cow print ones at that……don’t ask. …and drove AROUND the oil tanker on the way back……..yes it was still there 3 hours later, and no they hadn’t closed the road….


9 thoughts on “Walk Like An Egyptian

  1. Juanita says:

    Totally love this one and can ‘see’ the whole adventure in my minds eye.

  2. Alisa Amin says:

    great stuff 😉 lol

  3. Tony says:

    I’m reading this and can’t beleive whats playing on 104,2FM, the Bangles “Walk like an Egyptian” whats the word for “Karma” in Arabic.

  4. Nura says:

    THAT IS SO EGYPT!!! I spent nearly two hours in Tahrir Square the other day, with cars going in 3 directions at once, kids sitting on roofs,Donkeys pulling carts of rebar, families of 6 on a motorbike-Why NOT a tanker truck overhanging the flyover? I was on Tahrir Bridge yesterday with wall to wall cars and all I could think about as I was stuck next to the military tank was what kind of engineering standards they might have had when building them. Then I tried not to hyperventilate because living here, I have a pretty good idea!

  5. brekkiequeen says:

    Any way I could get the contact/ directions to the khan el khalili azza fahmy guy? Been trying to find him for years!!

    • maireadhoey says:

      Ok bear with me it’s complicated. From the main entrance to the khan, ie the green gates walk diagonally across the square. Past the entrance to the mosque. Go down the narrow street that is straight ahead of you.

      Walk down until you see a walk through metal detector on your right it is outside the Naqib Mafoush restaurant which is getting renovated. Just after this again on your right is the entrance to the Khan Mall. Go straight through this “Mall” until you exit at the other side. It’s a winding path but you will understand when you see it.

      When you exit the mall turn right, and walk up the hill to the very top. It is a dead end and you will see a flight of stairs to your left. Take the stairs up two floors (it’s a complete dump) you will see workshops etc turn right then left but if you get this far the workmen will direct you. Good luck

      • brekkiequeen says:

        Those directions are actually really fantastic, thank you! I got as far as outside the other end of Khan mall and up the hill but then things got a little wonky. When I went straight ahead towards the dead end, there was a fork in the road, either to go left or right. Left did have a set of stairs straight ahead (leading into a mosque) and then another set of small stairs to the left of those grander stairs. I went up two flights of stairs and tried to ask around (there were workshops), but people told me I was probably looking for ‘Mohammed Khalil’ but that he closes at 9pm.Does this sound right to you? Do you know his name/ number?

  6. maireadhoey says:

    Yes that’s his name but I don’t have the number. The flight of stairs is in the left hand corner of the dead end, just ignore the fork. I usually go around lunchtime so he may close at 9pm good luck

    • brekkiequeen says:

      Thanks so much! Yeah they said he works 9 to 9, but I didn’t want to go back again (it’s quite far away from me) if I didn’t have the right guy. Thanks so much again- it has literally been 6 years since I first heard of this guy but was never able to find out where he was!

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