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
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.
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.