This is Cairo
Arriving into one of the world’s most densely populated cities, with a metropolis population of around 18 million people, Cairo assaults the senses. Eyes are constantly trained on the oncoming traffic, peering through the smog; the nose becomes blocked, black with the pollution; car horns & tourist touts banish silence at all hours; one can taste the exhaust fumes.
But this onslaught is quickly forgotten, the senses become rapidly attuned to Cairo’s charms. The eyes wander to the fantastical Islamic architecture & grand, colonial buildings & gardens; they flitter from the scriptive Arabic calligraphy to the painted portraits & graffiti, all interwoven by the banners draped across streets.
The nose follows the smell of the sweet shisha smoke emanating from street-side cafés; in the souk, fresh garlic mixes with mint, and smoked fish; sweet potatoes caramelise in mobile ovens.
The muezzin calls echo throughout the city, issued from the hundreds of mosques, amid the shouts from souk hawkers peddling their wares. The clack-clack of domino players rattles through coffee-houses. Greetings of ahlan wa sahlan are issued from every shop-front.
The tongue craves another fuul & taameya sandwich, washed down with a fresh fruit juice, or sweet, minted-tea.
So yes, I liked Cairo.