The frenzy of Ramadan shoppers adds to the already chaotic hum of Cairo. My favorite time during Ramadan is at sundown after the call for prayers which signals the breaking of the daily fast. The cars honking almost disappears and a calm falls over the city as people rush home or to a restaurant for the evening meal. Most restaurants are closed during the month and the rest are closed and prepare only for the evening meal. Thousands of plastic tables and chairs sprout up all over the city for the 15 minutes feeding frenzy. An hour later the tables, dishes and bones and sidewalk are all the remain. The scraps are thrown on the sidewalk, the tables and chairs are cleaned and carted away and the sidewalk is swept up. Then the shops open and teh street vendors set up to catch the pre Eid El Fetr shoppers buying new clothes for the family, special food and sweets and presents for the three day festival to mark the end of Ramadan.
Today I was successful in getting my train ticket to Aswan. On the way back from the train station I took a wrong turn and ended up in the back lanes of Cairo. This is where the small shops are located–furniture making, welding, tire fixing and produce markets. Horses are still navigating the small windy back streets. I tried to buy a few cookies and a few pieces of fruit and each time I was not allowed to pay for it.
Since this is Friday the mosques are overfilled. Mats are set up outside the osques to capture the overflow. The prayers permeate every layer of the city. I love the sound of the Arabic language as it seeps into every crack and open window.
Tommorrow I head to Aswan on the 7:30am train. The ferry office to purchase tickets to Sudan was closed today so I will have to try my luck in Aswan. This may be a busy travel weekend as it is the last ferry before Eid El Fitr and many people will go to celebrate the special holidays with their families.
Next message from Aswan..check out this link. These three guys are travelling for a year and writing interesting stories for a French publication (English translations exist)