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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Hardware Store on Pyramids Street

The quest for furniture continues. Our custom-made sofa and chairs are being constructed across town in Nasr City. Meanwhile furniture is appearing like magic in the apartment. Friends gave us a carpet and a great entryway mirror.

Linda went over to our next-door-neighbor on the floor to ask a question. She came back an hour later pushing a loaned bedside table through the door. That's how things work in Cairo.

Linda also had received a recommendation to visit Dary department store on Pyramids Street to shop for accessories. We have been past the building many times and Linda was interested in visiting it even before the recommendation.
The Dary building has seven floors and when you first enter, it appears to be one large furniture showroom. Following a habit that I developed when I worked for Dayton's in Minneapolis, we took the elevator to the top floor and prepared to walk each floor taking the steps down between floors. (This could be an all-day job when you did it at Macy's or Marshall Field's flagship stores!)

The elevator opened on the top floor and much to our surprise and my delight, we were in a hardware store. The entire floor was occupied with nuts, bolts, nails, wrenches, etc. I had been planning to go downtown to a street filled with tiny tool stores - it is just a couple of blocks from the street filled with tiny auto parts stores. But no, here close to home was all the hardware I needed.

I soon had a hacksaw and blade, two masonry bits, a crescent wrench and a couple of other items. And all for under ten dollars.

If you are in Cairo and looking for small tools - Dary is highly recommended.

We never did find the accessories that Linda was looking for but we picked out two stools for the breakfast bar and a nice patio table for the balcony. These are being delivered Saturday if all goes well (or, Insha' Allah - "God Willing," as the locals say.)

A bit more about Pyramids Street. Obviously it is named because it runs straight out toward the Giza pyramids from downtown. The street is about five miles long running from Giza Square, near downtown, out to the west. It is lined with palm trees in the center and has heavy traffic at most any time of the day or night. There are shops, restaurants, hotels and much much more along its length. It is always bustling with activity.

It has approximately three lanes in each direction. I say, approximately, because when the traffic slows down, you can definitely squeeze in more:

There are no traffic lights. There are no left turn signals at these non-existent traffic lights. Every half mile or so, you will encounter a "loop back" that lets a driver reverse direction. At those points there are always more than three lanes.

How do you cross a street like this? Very cautiously. "Pedestrian right-of-way" is not a concept practiced here. The operative rule is "Pedestrian beware!" Once you see that you can cross one lane, just step out. You use the "dodge and weave technique" to get the rest of the way across. Watch these guys find their opening:

and step right into it:

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