Coffee in Giza
Friday, April 12, 2013 at 7:29 AM
By Glen McLean
A few years ago before the Arab Spring and the end of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, we took our nephew Kaj to “the Mother of all nations” or Om el donia.
We flew into Egypt and landed in Cairo at a newly completed terminal in the middle of the sun-drenched desert.
Overwhelmed! Overheated! and Overtired!..it didn't matter. The three of us were about to embark on a two week whirlwind tour of the sites, sounds, and smells (yes, many smells) of Egypt. Many of the geography lessons taught by Sister Jordan and Ms. Edmunds in primary school were going to come alive over the next 14 days.
We boarded the rickety, albeit air conditioned, transport making sure our luggage was onboard. Off to Giza and the hotel. Yes, the excitement was palpable!
We travelled for about an hour leaving the desert to encounter the neighbourhoods of Cairo. There was very little green vegetation. The only thing that seemed to sprout from the ground were massive concrete monoliths housing the humanity of the country. Our bus slowly puttered behind a diverse array of vehicles as they simply ignored traffic lights and signs. Finally, we then crossed a bridge over the Nile and slowly crawled to our hotel just meters from the Great Pyramids of Giza. Wow!
One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was just outside my window.
I went down to the lobby, passed through the metal detectors and strolled out onto the chaotic street. No fast food joints. No branded retail. No sense of the Western norm. Here, however, people, vendors, traffic, animals and tourists somehow co-existed and even thrived under the heat of the noonday sun.
I was tired. “I need a pick me up!”
We stopped into a shaded cafe that had internet. We certainly didn't look like locals, but we were graciously served by a gentleman dressed in a traditional gallibaya. It was time for my first authentically prepared Turkish coffee. I paused and ordered. What a great memory! I was having a Turkish coffee in a cafe next to the Great Pyramids of Giza. Time to email my folks.
The coffee came in a small white cup with a glass of water. It was thick, foamy and steaming. It was black! It was sweet! It was gritty. It was good! Not bad? It was OK! It was an experience to savour.
Early the next day, after downing several morning coffees to ward off jet lag, we took a scheduled tour of the Pyramids. It was simply awesome descending into the belly of this ancient structure. Most amazing, as we exited the Pyramid of Khufu, we happened upon another tour group arriving on site. To our surprise and amazement, Mr. & Mrs. Williston from Saint John, and on a World cruise were just about to start their descent into the very same pyramid. A few words! A quick visit and we were all on our way.
It's a small planet....and it's always better enjoyed over a cup of coffee-Turkish is just fine!
Make Turkish coffee at home. Learn how at: http://www.turkish-coffee.org/make_turkish_coffee.htm.
142 Comments | Author: Glen McLean