Staff night out in Cairo
Yesterday evening, having completed most of the pre-tour preparations and rider orientation, the 2016 Tour d’Afrique tour staff had the pleasure of being invited to a restaurant by Ahmed Nayer, one of the local cyclists who accompany us on the Egyptian leg that begins our annual trans-Africa odyssey.
After taking an Uber taxi for 45 minutes through the madness of the Ring Road, we entered timeless Fatimid Cairo, which was founded in the year 969, where we walked thru the gates and laneways of the medina past stores selling wares from the Tales of 1001 Arabian Nights. One shopkeeper beckoned me with the entertaining line “I don’t know what you want … but I have what you need.” He was probably right as I could‘ve redecorated my house with the psychedelic egg lamps, gorgeous metal ware, embroidered cloths and endless array of bric a brac.
Following a sumptuous meal of hibiscus juice and middle eastern delights, we strolled alongside Egyptian families and young couples, past mosques and intricately carved doorways, to a popular shisha and tea emporium. There we perched on Ottomans and were entertained by Oum Kalthoum melodies and black and white Omar Sharif movies. Well after the clock struck midnight we were transported back to reality and our hotel in Giza.
For Shanny and myself, soon to return to the Toronto office and mid winter, it was a wonderful glimpse of this mystical corner of the world. But for our contracted tour staff, it was just the prelude to their unforgettable journey that begins at the fabled Pyramids tomorrow morning.