Street Kids Get a Day out at Sayeda Zeinab Park

group of boys

Earlier today, I went to a park in a neighborhood in Old Cairo, where UNICEF and a few other NGOs hosted a carnival for kids — many of them living on the streets of the city — to have an afternoon of fun.


girl with fur coat girl with painted face

girl with clay

boy and fountain boy with brush

Kids 1

kids 2 kids paint

clay face





hanging pink orangutan

Valentines Day is quite the holiday here, and the stores in my neighborhood are going all out with the stuffed toys, flowers, chocolates and red and pink gift items. There’s even fancy and naughty lingerie for sale in some storefronts. These photos are of the Monte Carlo store on the corner opposite my building, where giant stuffed bears and apes greet passersby.

vd boxes on car hood pink bear zamalek

red bear on box monte carlo valentine

heart in islamic cairo

Bab Zuweila

Goat Head

On a walking tour of Islamic Cairo today, we strolled among the alleys filled with homes, madrassas and mosques built from the 11th to the 17th centuries. We began at the Bab Zuweila, an 11th century gate of the old Fatimid city wall (circa 1092 AD). I climbed up in one of the minarets for a spectacular view of the neighborhood (and suffered a momentary bout of acrophobia as I walked on a rickety steel ladder toward the highest point). Then we dodged motorscooters and saturday shoppers along a street that was a lively souk (market) and, with an expert guide from AUC’s Arab Studies department, ducked into doorways leading to hidden places off the normal tourist track.

Pigeons Zuweila

Dog ZuweilaBab Bab

Zuweila Minaret 1

Zuweila Minaret 2 Dome and Mosque near Bab Zuweila

Minarets Lamppost

Medinat Habu

Horus Relief

Habu Relief 2Wanted to share some more images of Medinat Habu, the extraordinary ruins of temples built by Rameses III, Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III in the New Kingdom, from the 1400s to the 1100s BCE. It was one of my favorites of the temples we visited. The crowds were smaller and the temple still had so much of the original paint still visible on its walls. We spent the morning here on the day of Christmas eve and took a leisurely stroll among the columns and nooks, occasionally taking one of the locals up on their offer to see inside a room. One man said, “come see paradise!” Well, who could resist? He pulled out the bars on the divider, and he showed us inside a room filled with brightly colored images of Isis and Osiris. A little baksheesh was worth the trip to paradise.

Habu Relief

Habu Feet Papyrus Flower


Habu Columns Habu Blue Ceiling