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Monday, February 11, 2019

Urban Renewal - Bulaq Is Changing, Part 3

I hope you studied the first two Bulaq posts thoroughly so you have all the historic and social-justice background down and are ready to tour Bulaq.

We spent the better part of a day walking through the northern part of the district.  The area contains a fabulous collection of used auto parts shops, tool shops, metalworking shops and tiny factories.  We learned a long time ago that a "factory" is quite different from what we think of when we hear the word used back home.

We approached the area crossing the Nile via the 26th of July Bridge and quickly descended into the heavy downtown traffic.
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On our right side, we saw the continuing demolition that we had visited the day before and one of the buildings being preserved.
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We parked under the elevated outbound lanes of the bridge and noted the busy garment district on that side.  Clothing is both new and pre-worn which comes from outside of Egypt. The price on the rack being rolled out is 35 Egyptian pounds - about two dollars.
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The garment district quickly gives way to a large area of small shops featuring used auto parts.  Any part you can imagine hangs in visible display.  If you have ever dismantled an engine or swapped out a transmission, you will be awestruck as you follow the wandering streets.

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Need a tool?  Perhaps a large wrench or a come-along?  You are in the right area.


After a half mile or so of "tool town," we found ourselves close to the Nile corniche with the blue Egyptian National Bank buildings in sight.  Is that a church next to the bank?  Yes it is, a Coptic church.
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Suddenly we were back in the modern era and found ourselves in an area of clean, brightly lit fabric shops.  The largest of these held some fabric in patterns of interest to both Linda and me.  Yes, those pictures of Marilyn are not photos; it is actually fabric, meters upon meters of Marilyn! We stopped in to look more closely.  While Linda looked at fabric, I took some pictures of the passing foot traffic including a gentleman pushing a large blue hand-truck.

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After purchasing some fabric at a very reasonable price, we headed back into the interior of Bulaq to visit some of the tiny factories.  Most of the factories were the size of an American one-car garage.

Raw materials were close at hand.  This shop sells steel bar stock.
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This factory is turning out those blue hand-trucks that I spotted an example of earlier.

As we returned to the parking lot, suddenly the factories and used auto parts faded away and women's underwear appeared.  There may have been some men's also but I was so taken by the ladies' colors that I really didn't check too closely.

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