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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Save Mart Comes to Marioteya

There are not a lot of exciting retail businesses down on our end of the Marioteya canal.  Yes we have what must be Egypt's largest Papyrus and Perfume shop named Golden Eagle Papyrus.  But what if you are just looking for some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers?  It's a long hike up to the vegetable market next to El-Hekma Chicken (the best chicken in the city!)

Finally, a new market has opened for fruit and vegetables, just behind the landmark Ragab Sons supermarket.  The big sign on the corner says "Save Mart."

Fresh produce is a big attraction to us during our winter visits to Egypt.  At prices of 2.50 to 5 EGP per kilogram  (seven to 14 cents a pound) we enjoy the vegetables of the season.  Prices for bananas and strawberries can range up to two or three times more.

The structure of Save Mart just screams "low overhead" and seems to epitomize what city planner, David Sims, describes as"informal Cairo" in his classic Understanding Cairo, the Logic of a City Out of Control.

Think of this as a combination farmer's market and flea market back in the states and you won't be too far off base.  At its heart is a large, well-stocked collection of fresh vegetable merchants.

We recognized at least one couple who were previously doing a slow business closer to our flat. All of the merchants were exceptionally friendly.
SaveMart-04 SaveMart-06

The variety being offered even includes fresh grape leaves for rolling stuffed grape leaves - not found just anywhere.

Around the periphery there is chicken and fish for sale.  There are even a few specialty shops selling plastic, cleaning products and the like.

Last year, this corner was just  a vacant lot surrounded by a brick wall.  You never know what will happen as the neighborhood grows.  Now if someone would just open a bakery - perhaps in this empty stall.

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