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Saturday, March 23, 2013

On the Street of the Tentmakers

We hadn't gotten very far away from Mohammad (see the "box factory" two post down) when we were joined by another "catcher," Alex.  Alex has probably simplified his name from Ali for westerners.  He would have loved to take us to the famous papyrus painting shop along the way, but Linda was only in the mood for pillow covers.

Pillow covers?  How fortunate.  Alex just happens to be in the business of applying appliques to pillows and quilts.  He will lead us.

It's not hard to find the Street of the Tentmakers if you are heading in the right general direction.  It is located near Bab Zuwayla which can be seen from quite a distance.
EgyptTentmaker-1 EgyptTentmaker-2

There is lots to see  and photograph along the route.  The Bab has an interesting and bloody part in the history of Cairo during the Thirteenth Century.  The Wikipedia entry tells the story adequately:
... Qutuz responded by killing the six envoys, "halving them at the waist," and displaying their heads on Bab Zuweila.
Some day I will spend more time in the area and get better pictures.  Sunlight was fading fast as we passed the Bab.  Not only was it late in the day, but it was Sunday so very few shops were open.  I'll post this picture from a busier day in the past to give you the flavor of the area.

Linda spent the next hour or so choosing fabric and negotiating a good price with Alex.  I had the opportunity to sit in the shop doorway and watch life pass by along the street.  Life doesn't get much better than this.  People-watching in Cairo beats television or the movies by a mile.

I thought about an "ideal" picture of the Bab, considering the artistic rendition on the sign, my own picture and the carpet version hanging nearby.
EgyptTentmaker-3 EgyptTentmaker-4 EgyptTentmaker-6

Finally, the owner of the last shop to close on the other side of the street came out and cleaned off his motor-scooter with a feather duster and prepared to turn out the light.  Friends/relatives of our shop's owner were standing outside his door.

Linda (and Alex) reached a final price.  We were free to go.


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