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Friday, March 22, 2013

A Visit to the Box Factory

The Players:  Mohammed, Abdul-Aziz and Mohammed's uncle.
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After finishing our lunch at the Khan last week, we headed across al-Azhar street via the subway tunnel and plunged into the streets lined with bookstores that surround al-Azhar Mosque.  We were on our way to the Street of the Tentmakers.

We didn't get very far.  The various merchants with shops in this area are at a real disadvantage when it comes to tourist traffic so they employ what we call, "catchers."  One athletic looking fan of the WWE soon matched our pace and struck up a conversation.  "Would you like to see the box factory?"

Of course, we're always willing to follow a complete stranger down some winding alleys in Cairo so Mohammed soon had us back in this area.  Note the "handicrafts" sign spray-painted on the wall.
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Mohammed introduced us to this Michael Jackson look-alike and tea was ordered.  Mohammed's uncle showed up in the background a bit later.  I visited a bit and we compared ages.

It takes a good half-hour to learn the finer points of box-making and how to tell the good quality merchandise from cheap and/or Chinese imitations.  Now that we were experts, we could get down to choices and start negotiating prices.  I liked this box made of Olive wood with the very tiniest of brass pieces precisely inlayed.
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Mohammed took us back to the main route and pointed us toward the Street of the Tentmakers.

1 comment:

Aliza said...

Ooo, lovely inlay work! We didn't see this area of the market.