A Suburban Walk in Cairo

Elephant and watertank. The leafy suburb around Embaby has a varied skyline. Just above the elephant's trunk a man raises his thumb, over the entrance a manikin hangs on by its fingertips By way of contrast to the last few pages on the tourist sites of Cairo, this page offers more parochial, although hardly mundane, images that greet the visitor walking around a suburb of Giza which is on the west of Cairo. The sheer scale and inevitable transport problems of Cairo are daunting. Endless suburbs extend in every direction to accommodate some 20 million people, but there is no way of passing between these areas except by inching along in jammed traffic. Every visitor to the capital might write a page like this one on yet another area; an area undreamt of by 90% of the population. A film star's house. A fantasy extravaganza built by a film director for a woman who did not want it. It has now been abandoned for many years Embaby and sentry box. Area sign - guarded by a sentry box Road with houses and the fantasy building. Along the unmetalled road, with its palms and new buildings, appears this fantasy house Gate of house no. 1. The delightful gate to house number one Palm by waterway. Surprisingly, in the arid air, some waterways do offer sustenance to plants and trees House fronts alone the road. Houses in this area are palatial, with walls and gates and festooning greenery Composite of garden pool. A cobbled composite of a garden in the area; maximally devoted to its pool A larger garden cum orchard. Peeping over a wall to see an orchard that would enhance a Kent lane Cat, dog and pool. White cat, Egyptian dog and the pool - style Butcher sharpening knife. Butcher in roadside shop sharpening a handsome knife traditional compound with horse. And over another (barbed-wire topped) wall, here seeing a traditional house and exercise area for a horse Carvings and castings of classical statues. The yard of a shop selling castings and carvings of classical sculptures Men and kids in small truck. Some pictures are worth a... I would offer this one of contemporary Egypt. Wanting to welcome and engage, but battered into caution, some adults behind screens, children reflecting the dilemmas Tuk-tuks waiting for customers. Tuk-tuks wait for customers by the road Dilapidated tuk-tuk. Originally coming from Japan in the 1930s 'tuk-tuks' (as they are called in Thailand - 'autos' in India) have spread across the world. Cairo boasted some 500,000 in 2015. Various attempts at regulation have led to bans on this ubiquitous transport used by some 30 million Egyptians daily. Bans and lack of spare parts mean that some machines approach old age, like this one, in sad condition. Trap near Sphinx. A horse trap (not on the walk but by the Giza Pyramid)... Donkey cart and truck. ...and a donkey cart compete on the roads Bottle tree. At the roadside a Bottle Tree probably the Queensland variety (Brachychiton rupestris)... These photographs are taken from a 2 mile circular walk, so no images are more than a few hundred yards apart: ultimate affluence, basic transport; beautiful plants, dust covered graves; confidence, trepidation - go and take a walk yourself, you will be welcomed. Bottle Tree flower. ...and one of its magnificent flowers Grave. The haunting, and evocatively shaped, grave-covers in the local cemetery A film session in the Mosque. The graveyard a few hundred metres from the affluent houses The next page goes to one of the museums in the west where many artefacts from Asia and Africa ended up. Although the Chambers Street Museum (or more formally the National Museum of Scotland) has kept most Asian material tantalisingly hidden in recent years. The old entrance hall of the National Museum. line
Saturday 10th June 2017 Murphy on duty

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