So yesterday E had a meeting in Cairo and asked if we wanted to come for the day. I love a little spontaneity, so the kids took the day off school and we headed for Cairo. The drive was a long 5 hours but we're used tot he 8 hour drive to where my husband is from so it wasn't too bad. Most of the way is boring desert but there are some pretty sights driving through Ein el Sokhna.
We passed 2 stretch limo and trucks with sound equipment going the other way in the Red Sea direction and decided maybe it was Beyonce on her way to the concert she was giving in Porto Ghalib tonight.
Finally when we reached Cairo, and not 15 minutes into the city, I already was thankful I lived in Hurghada and not Cairo. Seriously? The city looks like there is a coat of black dust over everything. This is just going into Giza and passing through Tahrir. In Hurghada we have dust and litter but not like this. The air is cleaner of course. The traffic was bad and the fumes were gross. Here's my drive by shot of the Nile.
We thought the zoo would be a good place to spend some time. It's one pound to get in but it's really a sad place. I don't think it was this bad last time we were here a couple of years ago. We love animals but the conditions there were unspeakable. Most of the animals were not out because it was near closing time and some zoo guys kept wanting to show us some animals for tips. There were people trying to sell stuff and one woman came toward us and said to me "come here I want to tell you a secret!" I was like "Come on kids!" There are weirdos at every turn! I don't know what she wanted.
It's pretty big and there aren't any clear signs or directions. Lots of empty cages. They have cats and dogs in cages there, you guys. Long haired cats are a rarity here I suppose but not a zoo animal in my mind. There are more stray cats than anything. The cages were small and filthy. It's depressing. The only animals that We felt looked ok and actually got to see were these below.
Baboons...open the pic in a new window cause they are the same color as their habitat.
These little dessert foxes.
This elephant passed us on his way somewhere all I could say was "there's an elephant right in front of me"
There are some cool looking old trees there though.
So we got shooed out of the zoo half an hour before closing time and got some snacks from a street vendor and walked a bit while the kids finished eating them. Unfortunately the urine soaked floor of the zoo wasn't were this animal behavior ended. We saw a guy pee on the street. It was disgusting. The street is lined with trash and I refuse to throw trash on the ground. Dawood was like "what's the difference?" It's the principle! We kept walking. No trash can in sight. We finally came to the "Faculty of Engineering" I guess it's part of the Uni, and threw our snack wrappers/drink bottles in the dumpster inside.
We decided to spend the rest of the time at the Mall. A nice clean, non smelly place. Thankfully the first cab I hailed stopped. The new white checkered cabs are cleaner and have a working meter so we were so glad to sit for a while till we got to Nasr City. There was traffic but Tahrir has lots of sights to look at from the street vendors to the billboards so it was ok. I even got a pic of the Cairo tower on the way.
So from the dirtiest place in Cairo, to the cleanest, we got to City Stars Mall. I think it's the biggest one in Egypt. It's nice but most stuff is expensive. We had lunch in the food court and walked around looking at shops, people watched. I've never seen so many skinny jeans/ballet flats/carina top hijabi's in in one place.
We saw these tiny turtles for sale at a kiosk and I thought they were so cute. 75LE each. Too rich for my blood but so cute.
The kids thought the fountain was a good photo op.
There are no benches in the mall. The only way you are sitting down is by buying something. We even got scolded for sitting on this little bench-like ledge by the stairs. You're not allowed to lean on the glass railings that goes all around the center of the malls floors either. Later we stopped to get milk shakes at Mcd's just to sit for a while.
We played around in Toys R Us for a bit.
Finally we had dinner at Papa Johns. We were all tired.
I didn't even realize Dawood was making that face till I uploaded the pics!
All in all, a long day but a change of pace. It was really striking to see the big difference between the people at the zoo and the people at the mall. Makes you think about the haves and have nots.