15 Feb 2005

and .....Open sesame

I had a remarkable night. Very rejuvenating. Very simple.

We went out to dinner with our friends O and A. They are the only intellectual couple we enjoy our get-together with. Both are Architect and work in the field of renovation. A in particular--just recieved his doctrate degree from UPenn-- has a real passion for art and history. He has been renovating houses, madrasas and hamams for over 15 years now. Got both his theoratical and practical knowledge nailed down, albeit, he preserved an amateur spirit.

The place we chose for last night was a real simple, authentic place right downtown. Unless you are a real cairene, not minding walking in shabby areas that you usually pass by car only by mistake, you will find it. Next to the Italian culture center, hides this place with its huge gate and secretive life. We walked up to the gate, A called the guy who came rushing to us. He immediately recognized A, who goes there pretty regularly with his 'foreign' friends working with him at the site. They usually don't let any Egyptian in unless dragging a foreigner along. Kinda silly, but I don't blame them! They probably wanted to protect their little Italian place from the ostentatious Egyptians who will sure turn it to another show-off outing, ripping away its simplicity and authenticity.

The place was a replica of Italy. Italian music, Italian menu, and Italian faces. We were the only Egyptians, in our little sectarian minds, but to them we were probably just another group who came to enjoy. Initially we talked about being the only Egyptian, but later we dissolved in the global identity of the space.

Dinner was so simple, nothing fancy but authentic. Pizza was different than the one you usually get at Thomas or the Itlian restaurant at Sheraton, pasta was different, tiramisu was last night's speciality. Bubbly yet gallant atmosphere. We were all laid back, talking, giggling. Real warm! One of this rare occasions when I don't want to leave or space out!


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