The Zamalek Boardwalk

Another post originally written for livejournal during my stay in Cairo.

This is the boardwalk a couple of blocks from my house on the island of Zamalek. On one end stands the Iraqi embassy, on the other, the hip nightclub Sequoia. It’s a small little site – only about two blocks long.

On weekend nights, it is filled with Cairo’s young, couples and groups of young men too young or too poor to frequent the nightclubs on the water. They sit together looking out at the Nile and the giant new hotel / office complex being built across the water.

There are those who don’t like that couples come here to cuddle and look out the Nile. They’ve been known to pour oil on the banister to make the site unpleasant. But the kids keep coming. And there are people who are there to cater to them. The other night, on my way Sequoia, I saw a guy with a sterno can heating water for tea that he would sell up and down the boardwalk.

The kind of motivation that leads someone to set up a sterno can to sell tea to teenagers is either a sign of the grinding poverty that many in Cairo face, or a sign of the hustler attitude prevalent in Cairo – or both. Either way, I totally admire the guy who does it.

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