Published: April 20th 2010April 20th 2010
Tuesday evening is cool and breezy and the perfect time for a casual stroll and a light dinner. Just before dinner I head downstairs, Rick is still napping, to see what action is like. It seems like some of the new Trafalgar folks who are on our tour are beginning to arrive.
I meet one lady of about 60 from NYC who recently lost her husband to cancer and her luggage to the black hole of air travel. She was bumped from her original flight on Sunday to allow for some stranded volcano refugees to go closer to home and her luggage apparently went with the refugees. No one knows exactly where however and she is worried she will be wearing long sleeves and brown for two weeks. If she does not get her luggage tomorrow she may be right for on Thursday we head to the cruise and it will be tough for luggage to catch up.
Upon leaving the soon to be brown lady I head back to get Rick and dinner. We know that just 100 yards to our left is a restaurant called Farfel and they serve a local cuisine. We walked past the place last night and so decided to give it a try.
Before we can walk the 100 yards we have to “walk the hawker gauntlet”
“Come to my shop”, “Want to see how we make perfume”, “I have the best silver for you 50% off today only” and finally “you want a cab?” this one from our lime green Fiat driver from Monday. He remembered us as well and we chatted, laughed and walked the remaining 25 feet to the restaurant.
Of course here we meet the “owner” out front who explains to us how great the food is and how much we will enjoy it. “No problem” we assure him “we already decided to eat here”
We are shown to our open air table under a tree dressed with Christmas lights in a very breezy and quiet courtyard. We are shown menus, with prices this time, and peruse the bill of fare. They have meat like chicken, lamb, beef, pigeon and quail. We are told the pigeons come from his family farm and he raises them only for his restaurant. Ok we are convinced flying rats for two mine with rice and French fries for Rick.
I get a Fanta, yes Chris they have Fanta Orange in Giza (my son loves Fanta from Italy); and Rick gets a Coke Zero. I add a Beer and we wait for the birds to arrive.
So we chat about our day and what we liked and disliked, Rick actually had some likes I was shocked but mainly pleased. The night was cool and the setting, looking at the Pyramids, was pleasant enough. About 10 minutes later the squab (the proper term for pigeon to be eaten) arrives. There are two on each plate laid flat like a small chicken run over by a Mack Truck.
Time to try the bird, so pick it up, break off a piece and in the mouth it goes. Although small the taste was surprisingly pleasant. Not fatty and not dry and not really that much meat. In fact finding the meat was a challenge. The wings and legs are very small as is the breast. OK the whole damn thing is tiny OK, there I said it. Covered with a dry sauce and cooked over an open fire grill it was actually good. Now I can say honestly I ate pigeon and liked it.
As we sat for dinner the owner, a really nice Egyptian fellow was invited to join us for a chat. We learned the restaurant has been there since 1985 and came from his grandfather to his father to him. Our new friend is a religious man and has done the pilgrimage to Mecca 5 times. We discussed “one God “doctrine, the afterlife and what a blessing from God (Allah) life is. Enjoy it. You see he may be a Muslim but we are not so different after all.
Soon the conversation went to politics and we agreed both our countries are run by crooks. Then, the coup de grais, “come to my shop and let me show you how we make the perfume oils. Then you can buy some for your wife, I sell it to you cheap, by the ounce.”
I politely decline, I strongly decline, I beg to decline and finally I tried “just say no”. Finally try as he might he saw I was not budging and he said good bye, wished me a long life and moved to more fertile ground at the next table. I have to say these folks work hard.
Dinner complete we walk back to the hotel and are greeted by the man who showed us to our dinner restaurant last night! Of course he wanted a full report on which location was better, since he works for both locations. We gave him our impressions. They were equally good as they did not compete on the bill of fare, they were evenly priced and both were enjoyable.
He seemed genuinely pleased and told us he would look for us tomorrow night. Little did we know he was right! On Wednesday the Trafalgar dinner is held at Farfel! Should have known. Anyway the meal was good and we walked home only accosted 2 times by hawkers and laughed with the policeman who showed us his bullet proof protective wall last night. Everyone remembers everyone in this city, amazing and kind of nice.
Good night everyone.