Sunday, February 03, 2008

Friday Markets

In Cairo, in the City of the Dead, there are markets. On Fridays they are huge - long streets packed with structures patchworked from bits and pieces and all manner of goods laid out for sale. Some have bits of everything, but most specialise.

Some items are just bizarre. In the poorest area of all - between the railway lines - there are bags of things like hotel soaps - somewhat used - and very badly ragged toothbrushes, crusted urinals and disposable dental mirrors. These are objects that I cannot imagine ever wanting to buy. In the better areas are cages of cats, birds - budgies and parrots, overcrowded but looking pretty healthy, and the odder items, like snakes, hedgehogs, birds of prey and hoopoes - I just wanted to buy them and open the cages as I love these beautiful birds.

I have just realised that I could go on and on describing but it is better perhaps to just let you look - through two pairs of eyes. I went with my daughter Tabbi - and she is a brilliant photographer. She is better than I am so I am both proud and daunted looking at her work. Even better - she has a little camera that I lust after - a bendy twisty thing that takes images from unexpected sides and has a 10 X optical zoom - so she can take lots of portraits of people who do not realise they are being taken. While I deplore the sneakiness of this with very politically correct sensitivity I also envy the capability and the images she collects.

So - walk the Friday markets with us! Lots of photos - so be warned - but it is so hard to edit these out.

Fish - smoked and alive

Fish - sunlit and backlit


My leaping horse - and Tabbi's

One shop - two great objects - I loved the old chair with its splitting textile and gleaming gold, and the beautiful bronze lady was being used as an incense holder.

Tabbi's shoe man and a sales table complete with palm tree

Tabbi's portrait - and mine

Old typewriter - with Arabic keyboard including a single key for "God is Great"

A wonderful Circassian face, my image, then Tabbi's

His Master's Voice - mine then Tabbi's

Old machines, probably almost rusted solid, with carved marble

Old photos on a stunning wall

Same shop as the last two - the marvelous orange and blue shot from Tabbi - how did I miss that one?

Tabbi's angel - and to think I didn't bother as I didn't like it!

Rugs and the man who made them

Mannequins - Tabs, then mine

Screens and Vespa parts

shower heads and computer parts



Hanging objects

Plates and cutlery

It is always the people that light up the City of the Dead for me - we have so many marvelous portraits. These two are mine.

And Tabbi's


Tabbi's then mine (without 10x optical zoom)

Mine, then Tabbi's

Two Tabbi shots

Gas bottles and bikes

Toilets and grilles

Doors, mine then Tabbi's

Iron in the sky


Loved the kitchen sinks and the amazing thirties look of the lush mannequin

Chandelier for sale in front, open tomb behind



Chandelier specialty shop - which has bags and bags of crystal jewels

Bikes and Turkish tombstones








I thought the last shot was just spectacular. The morning left me with an sense of how hard life must be for Egyptians at the lower end of the social scale - and the huge gap between those at the top and those at the bottom. The faces though, show acceptance of what life gives them - and this is for me an overwhelming factor in Egypt - that whatever is in the bag is accepted without rancor or complaint.

I loved my morning. I almost apologise for the huge flood of photographs - but they were so wonderful. You cannot take a bad photo in Cairo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're posting again. I found your blog a few weeks ago,and spent a few hours reading of your adventures. Thanks for sharing.

3:57 am  
Anonymous librarylady said...

Your excurions, trips, comments and dialogue bring me across the globe to taste, smell and view the details of life, not a toutist glimpse but a deep walk through the world around you in Egypt and wherever you travel. I am ever grateful for the wonders you shar, the writing that gives ever more of a sense of what I am seeing in your photos and the you that you share with all of us who read your blog. Thank you for all that you have added to my life and my journey.
Kristin McNamara Freeman

4:37 am  
Blogger Cairogal said...

Fantastic photos, J. EVerything but the kitchen sink...oh wait! THey sell that, too!

5:07 am  
Blogger Mary Ann Littlejohn said...

Thanks for sharing your, as always, wonderful photos. These bring back so many sensory memories of the Middle East -- the smells of old dusty wood and metal, spices, and the textures of all the amazing sorts of wares. I'm suffering a few pangs of nostalgia.

7:19 am  
Blogger Lindi said...

You are both good with the camera. I love the differences in the photos. Sometimes I preferred yours and sometimes, Tabbi's. All good, though.

5:53 pm  
Anonymous Marianne said...

Dear Jenny,
Thank you for letting us take a look on the market. Your photographs are wonderfull just like them from your daughter. It is always a pleasure to read your blog and the pictures are so interesting. I know very little about Egypt. Your story of the trip in the desert gives also a marvelous sight on a landscape total unknown to me. Thank you very much!!!!!
Love from Marianne
at Anna Paulowna

8:12 pm  
Blogger Lynda said...

Fantastic post. We had been talking about a visit to the Friday markets - now we know what to except. Love the photos - My fave is the one where Tabbi caught the blue and yellow wall in the background... looks like something out of Architectural Digest.
Cheers Lynda

3:23 am  
Blogger CONNIE W said...

Awesome photos...amazing. Thank you for sharing these.

2:38 pm  
Blogger George & Nancy said...

Loved the photos, as you so proudly said Tabbi's are wonderful but you aren't doing too badly either. Enjoyed being in the City of the dead again and being able to see those faces as you taught us to see them
Nancy PE

10:44 pm  
Blogger Flea said...

Tabbi has a good eye. And the shots are all phenomenal.

5:03 am  
Blogger Di said...

Another batch of wonderfully uplifting images, Jenny! Thank you so much. You and Tabbi are so gifted. Love, Di

11:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful images - and your Tabbi has a great eye, too!

11:56 am  
Blogger Martha said...

I have enjoyed your photos so much, my favorites are the wonderful portraits...I will be in Cairo next month and your blog has let me see Cairo before being there. Now the place looks much closer.

1:02 am  
Blogger Living Away said...

wow, thank you so much for sharing those lovely pictures. i went twice to cairo last year and i felt just like home. it was the only place on earth i felt a sense of completeness!
your pics brought tears to my eyes...

5:19 am  
Blogger Around the World said...

Your blog has been included in our guide.

Around The World with Daily Photoblogs Old and New is a brief history of the City Daily Photoblog movement and a guide to sites around the world.

Although originally arising from the CDPB lists this is an independent publication. The criterion for inclusion here is that photographs mainly from a specific geographical location have been posted at dated intervals, and have archives searchable by date.

Please keep us informed of any changes to your details.

10:38 pm  
Blogger Jules said...

I love your photos! They bring back so many memories of when I was in Egypt, so many years ago.

I'm a first time visitor, but I'll be back.

5:39 am  
Blogger Intlxpatr said...

Your daughter has such an eye! The photos look like something you would fine in an adventure travel magazine. With all that you do, when do you ever have time for quilting?

3:15 pm  
Blogger PaMdora said...

Thanks for the photos -- they are all great. I've said that about Mexico (can't take a bad photo), I wonder if it has something to do with the light (among other things.)

5:40 am  
Blogger Marilyn said...

What wonderful photos. That is a very strange assortment of stuff at the market, but it is beautiful.

1:37 am  
Blogger Robin said...

I loved these photos. Thanks for bringing us along with you to the market. Did you buy anything?

6:28 am  
Blogger Leah/ Texas/ United States said...

what cool photos! I especially liked the shoe man, and of course all the "people" photos. You have a talent

6:09 pm  
Blogger Robyn said...

I love, love, love this post! The photographs are awesome and I am drooling and wishing I could be there. There are so many things I would love to get my hands on. Thank you so much for sharing your market excursion. Flee markets are my weekness.

12:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenny and Tabby, your shots show how much rapport and love you have for the real egypt and not the one of the overfed corrupt fatcat socialites who are mindlessly destroying their own country. thank you for sharing these loving shots.

11:30 pm  
Anonymous Phyl said...

Please do NOT apologize for all your wonderful photos!For those like me who cannot travel, it's like a visit!And I always wondered just WHAT a "market place" in foreign countries looked like!PLEASE tell me you brought some of the goodies home!My faves are the chandelier (loose) crystals, if cheap!You are both talented photographers;thanks for sharing.......

6:00 am  
Blogger Kim said...

I loved your pictures. Both yours and you daughters. They are lively and have captured the Friday market so beautifully.

I've been considering visiting the Friday market for awhile, but waking up early on a Friday morning has been a major deterrent. Your pictures are just the incentive that I need for myself and my husband.

So thanks again.

9:17 pm  
Blogger Kim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:19 pm  
Blogger Kim said...

btw I have also linked to your blog on my Egypt blog and I'm sorry to read from your latest post that you are leaving?

9:21 pm  
Anonymous vishav bhraman said...

Nice article..

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11:06 pm  

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