ramadan in egypt

our entire 6 day trip to egypt was during the holy period of ramadan. at first we weren’t sure whether it was the best time to visit. but it worked in our favor in several ways.

firstly there was little to no traffic on our drives to the pyramids and zamalek {by the banks of the nile} from heliopolis. which ashraf informed us, could have taken us as much as 2-3 hours on a normal day.

secondly our hotel stay was cheaper than it would have been during the non – ramadan period and unlike what was informed to us most of the restaurants that we wanted to visit were open during the day.

the negative – no alcohol available freely. only in 5 star hotels and bars {if you show them your tourist passport}. but fortunately we had carried our own liquor and could easily have a drink of two at ashraf’s home before heading out. oh and another tiny negative – v.v. long lines at the shopping malls. i spent three hours at the mall and could only manage to buy a total of 3 items. and that’s very unusual for me.

the best part – we got to visit a ramadan tent! during ramadan cairo gets festive and every night after the sun sets they have festive tents in few areas of the cities {mostly in five star hotels} with a wide variety of egyptian food, sheesha, live music and dance. also the shops are open way past 10 pm and there is such a festive atmosphere during the streets at night.

we visited the tent at the concorde el salam. we had the most delicous Egyptian food, kebabs, breads and rice. and listened to live arabic music. the night went on till 2 am and that’s the closest to egyptian nightlife as one could get during ramadan!

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during the day we decided to try non-egyptain food for a change. we visited maison thomas, established over a hundred years ago in the zamalek district of cairo in the 26th of July street. after that we had cheesecake a makani’s which i highly recommend.

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^^ pizza at maison thomas is one of the best in cairo!^^

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^^ impromptu stop at sequoia for pictures^^

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