I confess to total confusion about the city of Fayoum and the surrounding area. By the time we reached the city, it was well past lunchtime and we were looking for a restaurant. Linda and I were thinking of some nice quiet spot on a town square near the waterwheel I mentioned in a previous post. It turns out that that square is a few miles away at Ain El Selini. The city of Fayoum has a population of over 300,000 as listed in this estimate. The main square downtown holds a famous ancient obelisk, now covered with revolution graffiti.
The articles that I linked to earlier in the Sisi post noted the poverty of the town and surrounding agricultural area. We noticed both cotton and sugar beets moving along the road into town.
A circus was in town with the usual assortment of acts. Tickets were 20, 30 or 40 pounds - about $3-$6.
As we cruised past the courthouse, there were quite a number of the standard Egyptian "paddy wagons," apparently with prisoners aboard as people were standing around talking through the screened windows. I restrained myself from photographing this action. - lots of police standing around on traffic and crowd control duty.
All restaurant recommendation from other drivers, pedestrians and traffic cops (life really is different here! We had a lengthy conversation with a taxi driver in the lane next to us.) pointed to "el zowie" or perhaps "al sowie." The word was that people come from miles around to eat there and that it would be clean and suitable for westerners. It's amazing how much information can be gathered in heavy traffic by an inquisitive driver. We soon arrived. OMG! It's a fried chicken joint.
The choices being chicken, chicken or chicken, we opted for the "mixed grill." It was a quite a large meal for about $4.50
The service was excellent, and so was the food. They didn't have "lemoon fresh," our favorite lemonade drink but sent out for some on our behalf.
I was intrigued by this horse and carriage that we spotted on the way into town, so I spent some time searching the Internet before starting this post.
The city of Fayoum really doesn't seem set up for tourists. It appears, however, that there are carriage rides into the agricultural areas. I found this description of a sustainable agricultural tour in the area.
I think we are going to have to put a trip to the Valley of the Whales (by 4x4 "Gyp") on next year's agenda along with a proper return to the waterwheel and springs at Ain El Selini. That agenda is getting crowded since we also thinking of a camel trek south from Giza to Abu Sir next year too.