Twice each year, as we commute to and from the airport, we pass the IKEA store at the Festival City Mall on the Ring Road. The mall has been complete for some time but didn't open until this past November, what with revolutions and other issues. This issue of Al Ahram said there had been a three-year delay in opening. We took it as a positive sign for the economy and security when they opened.
I saw this picture (and several others) on the Ahram website and was looking forward to lots of green trees, flowers and even a row of lilacs that I could see in one of the mall website photos. A friend had offered to take us anywhere we would like to go so we suggested an outing here. We left early in the morning since store traffic would likely be heavy later on Sunday afternoon.
The parking lot was relatively empty when we arrived about 11 a.m. and we passed quickly through the security checks and headed into IKEA. We had several items in mind for the apartment and set about finding them. Now our view of the IKEA store from the parking lot looked like this:
I don't know what happened to the green grass, pretty flowers and tree foliage. Perhaps they were only computer generated?
Once we entered IKEA, it was like being transported into another country. As a matter of fact, even before we entered. The handicapped parking sign and total lack of plastic bags, paper and other trash in the parking lot suggested a much different lifestyle on the east side of the metro area. It was less than twenty miles along the Ring but it might have been several centuries in time.
Inside, IKEA has all the expected amenities and all the merchandise is tagged in two languages, Arabic and English.
Of course, you expect a selection of middle-eastern carpets in a store here, but I was surprised by the large selection of cowhides.
Of course, the big question, "Do they have Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes?" "You betcha!" Ten meatballs for 27 Egyptian Pounds - a bit less than $4.
The final result didn't look quite as good as the picture - but maybe that's because I forgot to look for the Lingenberries. And something tells me that the meatballs didn't have all of the ingredients in a classic recipe like this one.
We found a good desk chair and a nice desk lamp plus a number of kitchen items. We wish this store had been here when we first started furnishing our apartment, we would have had a much easier time. The several hours we spent in IKEA meant that we didn't get to the rest of Festival City so we will have to make a return trip to visit Marks and Spencer and the rest of the retailers here. But we passed a couple of other buildings on the way out that we don't find in out neighborhood so here are two more pictures.