Friday, February 29, 2008


All text & photographs in this post copyright Yasir Khan 2008.

Finally found a store I can relate to.
Haven't gone in yet, but they probably have everything I will ever need.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Go West

All photographs & text in this post copyright Yasir Khan 2008.

If you live in Cairo, you seek out opportunities to get out every now and then for some clean air.
So, last week, we took a trip out into the western desert. Here's the evidence:

And, as true Canadians out in the rocky wilderness, we just had to build inukshuks:

Obviously, some of them worked out better than others.
But we're bloody proud of them all.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

In case you're not sure what they want...

All text & photographs in this post copyright Yasir Khan 2008

... it's MONEY!

Spotted this in a roadside cafe on our way back from the western desert. More on that coming soon.

Friday, February 15, 2008


All text & photographs in this post copyright Yasir Khan 2008

"Min fadlak," (please) squawks the loudspeaker on the roof of the puny-looking ambulance, in between the woo-woo of an equally puny siren.

"Please get out of the way!"
"We have a very sick person inside."

A few seconds later:
"Please! We have a very sick person in the ambulance."

Nobody moves. They can't. Traffic has ground to a halt on the the Kasr El Nil bridge. We've been standing still for about twenty minutes now.

From my cab, I see the paramedic jump out of the ambulance and run to the cars ahead. I see his hands making wild, pleading gestures. I see him run back to the ambulance, and shut the door.

The decal on the door reads "A gift from the people of Japan."

He gets back on the the loudspeaker.

"Please move to the side..."

Nothing is predictable in this city of 20 million people - not the cab fare, not the price of a cup of coffee, not the direction in which a car will drive down a one way street. Everything is negotiable. You have to be 'on' at every instant. You have to be thinking. You have to be alive.

Except when you're stuck in traffic - Cairo's predictable, non-negotiable monster. It will choke you to death.

There are more than 2 million cars on Cairo's streets, very few traffic lights, and extremely bendable traffic rules. The city is like a heart in a state of constant cardiac arrest.


Half an hour later, we're still in the same spot. The paramedic's loudspeaker pleas have become less frequent. He's stopped jumping out.

Forty minutes into the jam, I decide to walk to work, and get out of my cab.

As I cross the bridge over the Nile, I turn back to look at the hopelessly stuck ambulance.

The driver turns off the siren.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Champions of Africa?

All text & photographs in this post copyright Yasir Khan 2008

Ask most Egyptians if they're African. You'll hear a resounding "la" (no). They're Egyptians. Not Africans. Not Arabs. People here proudly proclaim they're different.

They're descendants of the Pharaohs.

But last night, after their 6th victory (2nd consecutive) in the African Nations Cup (football), Egyptians were definitely Africans... and damn proud of it.
This nation of party animals kept us awake until the wee hours.

The evening belonged to Egypt's star player Mohamed Aboutraika. He scored the only goal in the finals against Cameroon, in the 77th minute of a very tight game, and became the lord of the streets for a night.

Aboutraika was a political hero here a few days ago. He earned a yellow card in the game against Sudan. After scoring a goal, he lifted his jersey to show an undershirt inscribed with the message “Sympathize with Gaza”.

The yellow card was for for violating a no-politics rule. But to the people here, he was a champion for
the Palestinian cause.

At that time, Egyptians were Arabs. I think.