Wednesday, March 26, 2003

After two days of showers (it could only be called "rain" in Cairo) the trees in Maadi are beautiful. We are coming into spring here (such as it is with so little difference among the seasons) and the poincianas, bauhinia's and jacaranda's are coming into bloom. They bloom on the bare trees so that the trees are covered first with purple blooms from the bauhinia's (camel foot tree), then the jacaranda's and poinciana's come out with purple and red respectively. Once this storm passes, the trees will have a year of sun and dust to take them back to their usual faded beige colour. I live in what was once a planned community south of Cairo proper. It was planned in the 20's and 30's to be large garden lots with houses and is gradually being taken over by apartment buildings as the population pressure increases. In the 10 years I've lived here I've seen enormous changes in traffic (for the worse) and availability of services (for the better). Once you had to go into Cairo to buy anything other than food, but now it's entirely possible to live in Maadi and almost never actually go into Cairo itself. Not being much of a city person, I don't really mind not going into Cairo, but as cities go, it has to be one of the most interesting in the world. Every second of the day, something is's like living inside street theatre.


Wael in Panama said...

I've often heard of Maadi but did not realize it was not part of Cairo proper. How far out of the city is it?

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani said...

Maadi was a separate area until the 70's when Cairo exploded with the population. When I wrote this post, it was about 30 minutes out of the city but now with the horrible traffic issues in Cairo you can take an hour to an hour and a half to get into town, and the buildings simply extend from Heliopolis in the north to Helwan south of Maadi without much of a break. On my first visit to Egypt in 1976 you drove along the Nile through more.