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Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Night in Nasr City

We were off to Nasr City last night to do some furniture shopping. Our apartment is located about eight miles southwest of downtown Cairo and Nasr City is about ten miles due east. Nasr City is home to several malls and many shops. It is quite a bit more "upscale" than the area where we live, close to the Pyramids.

Our friends Mona and her son, Moody, are going to help us find some quality furniture for the "salon" or living room of our place.

After arriving we first head out for dinner. We choose the restaurant, Hosni, close to Mona's place. Hosni is known for its seafood specialties but serves a wide range of dishes. It's a three floor building with take-out on the first floor and a lot of seating on the second and third floors.

Hosni proved to have a very nice atmosphere. There are lots of customers on Friday evening and one group of fourteen or more is seated near us. A review in Egypt today linked below describes the interior better than I can.

The two-floor rectangular dining spaces are done up in more marble than I’ve seen in any single space this size. In fact, it’s the sheer amount of marble — used on every single surface from the walls, staircase and floors to the columns — and not the fresh fish display nor the glass wall running the entire length of the restaurant that first grab visitors’ attention.

There is no English language on our menus we see but with our friends help we order mixed grill for me and duck for Linda. I also had the lentil soup and we shared some salads. Besides the usual hummus and baba ganoush, we had a caviar salad that was excellent.

Linda's duck dish arrived as a full half duck and it was a bit difficult to cut apart. I liked the mixed grill. Hosni is not on the beaten path for tourists so it was nice to get acquainted with it. It turns out that this is a branch of the well known Hosni's Grillhouse in Alexandria as described in this review from Egypt Today.

After dinner, we headed out to some of the neighborhood furniture shops. We visited three different shops. The stores we visited were mostly located on the second floor with desplay windows visible from the street. This in one on the right:

Here is another. If you don't look at the top of the picture, you could miss it.

Linda had rejected the idea of traditional Egyptian furniture. Here are a couple of typical sets that you might find in any of the Omar Effendi department stores here.

And for some reason, she doesn't like the colors on the more modern styles:

This resulted in us choosing something that will be custom made. We picked out a nice model for a sofa and two chairs. Prices are reasonable and the owner assures us that he is the "fastest in Egypt" and can build the furniture in ten days once he has fabric in hand.

This, of course, means more shopping. We spend the next couple of hours in fabric stores and soon find the perfect two patterns and colors:

These appear to be top-notch funiture fabric and with Mona's negotiating help we soon have the price down to around eight or nine dollars a yard. There must be a lot of middle-man charges added in before this stuff arrives in an American living room!

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