Sunday, November 7, 2010

On the way to the market

Today Jeff, Cameron and I set off to find the Khan el-Khalil market, an enormous open air market that dates back to 1382.  We learned that finding and getting to this market is a bit of an adventure in and of itself.  We took the metro to get as close as we could, then started walking the remaining mile to the market.

When first leaving the metro, there are many vendors lining the sidewalk that takes you to the street.  Each vendor usually sells one thing or one type of thing:   shoes, books, women's shirts, .... really just about anything you can think of.  The vendors like to announce what they have and for how much.  In this section, the trend was to have a tape recorded announcement sounding loudly for all passersby to hear coming from a megaphone on their display mats.  Below are a couple photos of this.  I joked with Cameron, that it was a good thing that Cairo was so quiet... he laughed.

Here's a photo of refrigerator magnets for sale:

The road was so packed that it took an hour to walk 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile.  With wall to wall people on the sidewalk, many walk in the street.  The cars pass by more slowly here because they are in traffic jams too so it is actually quicker to walk through the crowds than to catch a cab.  One car came so close that its rearview mirror bumped me on the way by (but it was just a nudge because traffic was so slow).  

We enjoyed the walk most of the time, though the market itself (at least the corner we saw of it) was a little stressful since the a couple of the vendors were pretty aggressive.  We didn't end up staying in the market section very long because I had to get back for a thesis workshop that I help with.  (As an adjunct, I assist a professor in the research and writing department.)

I'll write more about the market in another blog entry.  For now, I'll show you some of the photos of the walk to the market.
I asked the coconut seller if I could take his photo and he nodded,
then this other man peeked in front of the camera, I think to be playful, but I'm not sure.

I saw this at one of the book vendors' tables
and asked him what the title was.
He said it was about powerful speaking.
I found this on
I think this must be the English version
of the same book.
These men were all selling their wares in the street and were kind enough to allow me to take a photo.

I really like the photo of the man selling tea (-- too bad for the lighting though).  He was walking along the sidewalk with his glasses of hot tea blowing a high-pitched whistle to let people know their tea had arrived.  It was clearly a regular routine of his that shopkeepers and others knew and expected.

These bread delivery people are amazing.  I saw some biking by without any hands holding the bins of bread.

By 3:30pm, all the venders in the street started to pack up quickly.
I'm guessing this was to be in time for evening prayer.
In the subway on the way home:  Jeff and Cameron had matching tie-dye shirts,
both of which were made by Cameron at
the Long Trail Summer Camp he attended in Manchester, VT in June.

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