The War Diaries

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Archive for the ‘Zamalek’ tag

The Sound and the Fury

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Sound & Light show at the pyramids with almost no tourists. Beautiful. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Killer Kushari in Kairo! Try getting a meal like this in the West for a Euro/Dollar...Not going to happen. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Cairo- I had one of those accidentally fantastic days in Cairo today. Spent most of the day lazing around Zamalek, shot a few phot’s of some killer post-revolutionary street murals, and all I ate were two heaping bowls of mega tasty kushari– Egypt’s national veg dish. One thing I have to say about Egypt is it is so easy to eat vegetarian here, especially when compared to Libya’s obsession with chicken. I’m a bit psyched that my Khalifa Haftar story which went out yesterday seems to have gotten some legs. Reuters did a story on my article today-Rebel army chief is veteran Gaddafi foe–think-tank as did The TelegraphLibya: rebels send trained forces to the front, telling youth to stay back-(which I’m guessing picked up on the Reuters story) and I just concluded an interview with CNN down in Atlanta.

I did a funky trip out to Giza tonight and the local fellaheen were a bit freaked out my my unorthodox ways. I ended up tramping around this slum in the dark, pitch black, muddy, horse crap littered warrens full of the classic “hello mister” routine. The Egyptian government or maybe antiquities authority has built this gigantic separation wall cutting the slum off from the pyramids which I definitely do not remember on my last trip to Cairo in 1998. I felt like I was walking through the West Bank without the bifurcated olive groves and hundreds of cats crawling through mountains of rubbish instead. After a while I finally made it to the gate just in time to catch the French version of the sound & light show with a group of aged French couples. It was incredible. I expected some 1970s time warp laser show experience, and while there were vestiges of that, the whole deal was really well put together. One of those long, tiring days to where I wish I was not leaving tomorrow. But off to little Bahrain I go en route to Addis Ababa. More adventures before heading home and doing the Massachusetts Avenue shuffle in a few weeks. I’m starting to really like Cairo. Just wish the hotels were a bit better.

Incredible art here. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

"I'm Free" The Mummy. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

The complete globalization of street art. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

"Facebook" "Twitter" ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

April 1st, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Walking Like An Egyptian

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Cairo- I’ve been enjoying myself wandering around Cairo’s slightly Islamabad-esque (but way more lively) Zamalek island the last couple of days. Zamalek, the city’s diplomatic enclave, is a breezy oasis squeezed in the middle of the Arab world’s Mumbai. I’m working away on the March issue of Militant Leadership Monitor and planning on doing some mandatory sightseeing once I get enough accomplished on the wifi tether. In other news, I did another interview (русский) with Voice of America’s Russian service and found via google that I was written about two weeks ago on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty about the whole Lukasheka-Qaddafi connection. There are a million things going on here in Cairo to where I can’t keep up with them all. Robert Gates made a surprise visit here yesterday, the Interior Ministry was on fire when I arrived the other night, Ban-ki Moon almost got jacked when he came to visit the Arab League HQ and on and on. I’ve noticed that a good number of journos have returned to eastern Libya, which I’ve been debating doing, but that aside from Allied bombing, the story does not otherwise seem significantly different. The rebels are still unable to organize themselves and the Qaddafist still have way superior firepower. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing in this case.

I saw this Daily Show video, which is almost funnier to watch from here. The key to the whole bit is the final, rapid fire discalimer at the end of the segment.

The Daily Show – America’s Freedom Packages
Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

“City of the Living!”

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Cairo- Took a very leisurely journey from the relative calm of Alexandria’s Midan Saad Zaghloul and a week of regrouping after the previous two in the Libyan insurrection, to Cairo’s posh Zalalek island, a leafy, diplomatic enclave in the center of the Nile. It still astounds me how cheap Egypt is (except for this rather expensive hotel where I’m staying the night). A first class ticket from Alex’s Misr train station to Ramses station here was 50 Egyptian pounds, which at $1 USD to 5,91 £E, makes the under three hour journey well less than $10. I then took the Metro from Ramses station to Gezira, which avoided a lot of traffic and put me on the island, for 1 £E, or about 17¢.

I cannot recommend highly enough the restaurant called Mohammed Ahmed est. 1957 on a hill just off Midan Zaghloul in Alex where I ate everyday (sometimes twice a day if I include their take away counter). I don’t know of too many places in India, or even Pakistan, where you can eat that cheaply.  A huge lunch for under 1 USD? There are major cities in South Asia where that price would be tough to beat. Ahmed’s is a great people watching joint as well. Catching a taxi the 10 minutes from Gezira up to Zamalek, it hit me how almost provincial Alex is to Cairo, the quintessential megacity.

All this non seriousness aside, the Arab states will not stop revolting and in some cases, exploding. Besides the Allied bombing of Libya since I left, which has not changed the game on the ground significantly for the rebels just yet, in Ba’athist Syria, an uprising has apparently begun in the southwestern town of Daraa near the Jordanian border and tensions in Yemen and Bahrain show no immediate signs of deescalating. The only true oasis of ‘stability’ is of course the United Arab Emirates where the Emiratis, an underwhelming minority in their own nation off set by millions of South Asian, Egyptian, and Filipina guest workers who can never be granted citizenship, means that for Emiratis with no urban underclass to speak of, the status quo suits them just fine for now. Here in North Africa, it is all thawra, all the time. (Link) View more John Rhys Davies Quotes and Sound Clips and Raiders Of The Lost Ark Quotes and Sound Clips

Written by derekhenryflood

March 22nd, 2011 at 11:14 am