Thursday, July 12, 2007

Road 9 - Revisited

Since I've started to feel better, I decided to venture out in the 90 degree plus heat for Road 9. I had some business to take care of. On the way, I saw this sight, which I may have posted in an earlier blog (total building included). This wonderful tree, is now in bloom. These trees are all over Maadi, and they're just stunning with their draping, graceful flower scattered branches.

Arriving on Road 9, I noticed a few changes are taking place. Significant ones, if you like food, coffee, and Egyptian made goods.

First of all, we have a new restaurant in Maadi. It's either called "Restaurant 55" or "Cafe 55," or is it just "55," (sorry, I forget). I would call it "continental cuisine". We ate there before I returned to the States last month, and they had already applied for a liquor license, but I don't know where that stands right now. They have several dining rooms and an outdoor cafe where you can also smoke sheesha. This new place is located in a villa just across the street from Lucille's. I'm sure we'll get back down there, and eventually have an update on the liquor situation.

I don't care what Lucille's policy is (or why), but one thing that goes with a great hamburger, is a glass of Cabernet. And after I've walked the distance, I do like to sit, relax and have a drink with dinner. Sooo, I am looking forward to another place where I can eat and enjoy a glass of wine, with my food. Dry restaurants are like dry counties in the U.S. - everyone goes out of their way to find the sauce.

Someone, maybe Cairogal (not sure), mentioned that Mediterraneo might have closed. It doesn't look like the lights are on, but I have not been down there during the evening. One of the salesmen at Cleo's Corner Bazaar (next door) said they were indeed open. Since I haven't seen this for myself, the conclusion is: Up in the air. Who knows? But, across the street is a new addition.

In place of Chicken Tikka, "I Like Mine Spicy," is a brand new Costa Coffee, with a wonderful balcony overlooking Road 9, and the construction (or deconstructionist activities) nearby. Don't ask - you have to see it to believe it. It's Cairo!

This has got to be putting the squeeze on Beanos, the coffee shop next door, who: have had a nonchalant service attitude; dogs that piss on customer's backsides; and people using long extension cords to wire up their wi-fi computers, thus leading to possible disasters of all sorts.

No, lookie here. Beanos has taken over the old shop, La Poire, the patisserie, and is expanding! The coffee wars on Road 9 are about to commence!
Let me add that Road 9 has been a one way street for several months now, although that message has not gotten through to many drivers (or they ignore the signs, or they can't read, or they don't give a damn, or...). As a result, Fridays are a great day to watch errant drivers get bumper locked with right way drivers on Road 9, typically in front of Beanos.

While I was on my way to my marked destination, I ran in to this fellow, who I had only seen there once before, recently (since my return from the States.) He must be a hot weathered friend, because, he's new.

Here finally, at one of my destinations, where we bought two small, turned, inlaid tables from a young man, I finally arrived. I am just starting to sweat at this point. This is the lighting shop on Road 9 with Egyptian lights, but he also sells glass, inlaid boxes, and some copper. You might spot this young man in the photo on this page praying in the background of his lights, where you will also see Cleo's Bazaar and the woodworking shop.

He's very devout, and I've had to browse and walk around Road 9, waiting for prayers to end, just so I could go into his shop. These small prayer meets are referred to as Zawiyas. The L.A. Times has all the details

"The zawiya has endured since the days of the great caravans when merchants sought rest and God on journeys across the desert. Partly inspired by the mystic Sufi branch of Islam, zawiyas spread from hinterland to city, providing spiritual fulfillment and help for the poor. These days, with Egyptians disgruntled over a corrupt government and President Hosni Mubarak's aloofness and failure to improve their lives, zawiyas have become entrenched community outposts."

While I'm at the shop, this young entrepreneur says, "Yesterday I had three shops on Road 9. Today I have four." He tells me he's opening another shop in Cleo's Corner Bazaar. His father owns the copper shop there. He explains that he has a variety of goods to sell (I think he already told me once before he owns a glass making shop), and just needs more room to showcase his goods. He claims to be "cheaper than The Khan," which is true, since the sellers at the Khan prey on shopaholic tourists looking for souvenirs.

When the men bring in the two small tables we bought, I recognized one of them and said, "I know these guys. They built some cabinets for us."

The young man replies, "Hahaha, yes, we own them too."

I retorted, "You own
all of Road 9!"

He giggles and says, "Yes, we do. Hehehe."

He's now selling egg lights, like the one in the photo, but on stands. They are huge and made of laced glass rounds, not tightly mosaic like the one pictured here. Nice - now, if only I could find the right color.... Sorry, I was so intrigued after he lit them all up for me, I forgot to get a photo.

I'm off to my next destination - Metro Market followed by Drinkies, for an alcohol delivery order. Between Metro and Drinkies I encountered a visual delight. You'll have to return on Funkengroovin Wednesday to see what I found.


  1. Fabulous photos and an update on Road 9, V! That villa across from lucille's is a great place for a restaurant. you're right about the know, some restaurants will let you bring it in for a small cork fee. We did this at the Creperie (sp) place over the bridge leaving Maadi (by metro market). We did it somewhere else, too...I would say Petite Swiss Chalet (have you been?), but they have a booze license. It's worth asking.

    Love the eggs, too.A friend of mine had one in various shades of blue. I can't believe all those coffee shops! Glad to hear that MEd. is still open, though.

  2. Thanks.
    Yeah, been to the Swiss Chalet - we walk there. They do have a liquor license, but the ex-chef has now opened (maybe a year old?) restaurant in New Maadi, called Max's. Swiss is nice and quiet, whereas Max's can get very busy, loud and, somewhat snooty (depends on the clientele,) plus it's the type of place where you need to have a love fest with the owner. Strangely (or not), Max's has practically the same exact menu as Swiss and I think Swiss might be cheaper.

    I just bought the one egg, but it gets very hot, which the seller even tells you. We're going to change bulbs to a cooler, greener one.

  3. Don't leave that egg unattended!