16 May 2005


I am glad I decided to leave. I was on the fringe of changing my plans and just cancel the whole trip. Change is always a good thing to do, and which I in particular love to do every so often. This time I needed it, and still do. I had a rough week in Cairo, or so I thought, not really sure which is the truth. Things in many ways kept switching and flipflopping from one state to the other, including my moods. One second up another down.

Before I left, I just felt like going for a walk around the area. I found myself crossing over to aziz uthman street. Strange street actually. It starts with a totally sketchy neighbourhood, sketchy slackers and then bit by bit the street just clears out and nice villas and buildings start to appear, until it ends with this famous garden. It is not the best street here, but for me it is one of my favourite streets especially at night. Building number 1 is where Ed. Sa'id used to live, next to it and on the corner is Haleem's famous apartment, somewhere in the middle of the street Hesham Selim lived, or so I speculated from my cousin who used to ride the school bus with him some 30 years ago.

It is a sad street to me actually. Very quite. Very old. Contradicting at times, especially its mornings. The school at its corner, al-gezira shit school, with its horrible ugly buses parking over the pavement, are a real killer to the nice street. Alienating the beginning of the street from its end. Even the buildings at the beginning of the street differ from that at the end. What is more funny is that the same building has many identities. Just noticed that Sai'd's building, which is amazingly nice at the front side--large columns, nice old entrance, nice balconies-- is just so nasty at the corner side. Old windows, dead plants, old sewage system, humid walls, closed apartments whose owners either died long time ago or just closed it and lived somewhere else. I was surprised for a moment.

When I was passing by Haleem's building, I used to just look through the entrance. Not sure why. I always do that. Just want to get a feel of what it was like when he was living here, when most of the actors of the good old days drop by. I always liked the two green elevators, with the big black buttons, not the digital ones. They just make me relax for some reason. A weird connection to some past memories, especially my grandpa's clinique downtown cairo.

I took like two rounds in the streets, once taking a left to Hassan Sabry and the other a right to Shaja al-Dur street. The fancy big building at the corner of al-Dur street with al-jabalaya. It is my worst nightmare. I don't like it. It ruins this whole nice area. Too modern for the old street and old villas, and even the old cars parking down there. One of them, is an old white coupe, I always fantasize it is Omar Khurshid's car. I look up the building and inside the entrace, well, it is indeed very fancy, but I don't like this kind of fancy building. Fancy for me is not about plants, mirrors, expensive ceramics, dressed up concierge, but simply about how the old building still carry the memories of all the people lived in it, and the history of that era.

MJ, with all my due respect to my hairdresser, has transformed one of the buildings at Salah al-Din street to a beauty salon. The whole building carries his name now. He did a good job actually with the entrance. A nubian concierge dressed in red robes and turbans open the door for you. Ahmed, is the sweet guy's name who insists on pressing the elevator's button for me. To be honest, I hate this elevator and more than once took the stairs which is left unchanged. I complained to MJ about removing the elevator and changing the windows, but he would just laugh. I do too. I like him so much actually. He is my hairdresser since I was a kid. Although we know eachother for more than 20 years now, meet almost every week, but I never had a conversation with him. I am not a talkative client like the rest of the women. I just sit silently on the chair, watch the ever changing clients of his. Watch him cut women's hair like a real artist. Doesn't seem to struggle or do any effort. Hair styling come naturally to him......

Welll, I think I will talk about my hairdresser another time.


Blogger Mohamed said...

Blogging from Paris? Have fun.

5/18/2005 12:12:00 pm  
Blogger praktike said...

Wow ... so when I stayed at the Mayfair, I was right near where Edward Said lived?

5/18/2005 05:26:00 pm  
Anonymous haal said...

Mohamed, Praktike, Yes to both of you.

Edward's house is 2 small blocks from Mayfair Pension! :)

5/19/2005 01:25:00 am  

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