April 17, 2011 by admin · Comments Off
A quiet Cairean suburb, Maadi has been thought of as a hub for international expats as well as a tree-lined, villa-strewn haven for the rich and reclusive. Despite this lingering reputation, it has changed quite a bit over the 96 years of its existence. Planned out in 1905, it was home to the British and an army camp of New Zealanders during World War II, and now is home to a number of little neighborhoods such as Degla, Sakanat al-Maadi, Sarayat al-Maadi and New Maadi.
Maadi is accessible by the metro — line 1 — and its three stops are all located along Road 9 — a quaint street of stores and restaurants that has been the hub of old Maadi since the early 1900s. The street can be divided by metro stops, in fact, with the Hadayek el-Maadi station stopping at Road 9’s older and presently less affluent area.
Hadayek el-Maadi’s Road 9 is alongside a market area that bustles most days and nearly explodes with people on Fridays. Beyond the usual fresh fruits and vegetables, the Hadayek market is known for old furniture and home accessories. Just beyond the market area is a maze of small workshops where carpenters and upholsterers put together orders for clients or make samples to show on Road 9.
Al-Maadi is the next station on the metro line, direction Helwan, and is the center of life on Road 9. This is where Road 9 originated, and there are pictures from the 1950s and many stories about the street dating back to the 1920s when the street had few buildings and many gardens. Road 9’s first grocery store was Nile Cold Storage — the best place to buy British or Australian meat, fowl and other food items. The grocers that followed gathered around the metro station and hailed from Greece, Armenia and Cyprus, and the Road 9 community benefited from their specializations, histories and gossip.
“Road 9 was the home of Maadi’s first petrol station,” says Tarek, an older resident of Maadi. “It was the only one in Maadi and it was run by Socony Vaccum Mobil.” Other older residents have more stories of passed on ownership and of shops which used to exist on the street.
“Rano over there used to be a fashion boutique called ‘Angelle’,” explains Mohamed, an employee at Mishriky, a pharmacy on Road 9. “It was run by a man named Mr. Fouad.”
The road was also home to a historically famous dairy named Astra, the Slovak shoe store Bata, and Mr. Dimos, the street’s long time grocer. The Gomaa brothers who stayed on the street into the 1990s have now been replaced by Abu Zekry.
As one continues down Road 9, past the newest Road 9 store, Alef Bookstore and Kiwi cafe, you’ll find a set of older shops, a shoemaker, an electrician and the Mermaid Pizzaria, Road 9’s first eatery. Beyond the intersection after that, what used to be a quiet residential area has developed quickly in the past 20 years. Between Mermaid’s and the final metro stop, Sakanat al-Maadi, one will find everything from Mori Sushi to a CIB branch, silver stores to McDonald’s.
Just before you reach McDonald’s — which in the 1990s was the main Maadi location for supposed ‘satanics’, young men and women who wore black and listened to Metallica — you will find Lucille’s, one of Maadi’s most familiar restaurants. Serving some of the best burgers in Egypt, Lucille’s used to be a second branch of Mermaid Pizzareia.
But the Road 9 of 2011 extends even beyond the final metro stop. Now Diwan has a branch a block further on and Adel, the tailor whose shop once sat alone on a deserted section of Road 9, is surrounded by little grocers and streetside mechanics.
“Maadi has become crowded and chaotic,” says Fouad Amin, owner of a store on Road 9 that is now Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. “It’s nothing like it was in the old days.” Amin cites Road 9 as a testament to that.
“Things have become so crowded that the road now has to be ‘one-way’,” Galal Massoud complains. The Massoud family are the new owners of corner grocery store and one of three dry cleaners on Road 9.
Since the 25 January revolution the cafes along Road 9 such as Beano’s, Greco, Coffee Bean and Marriott Bakery have come out onto the sidewalk with tables and chairs, no longer held back by Maadi’s baladeya (street patrols). “The baladeya would threaten us and make us pay bribes to put our tables and chairs on the sidewalk,” explains Heba, a waitress at the Coffee Bean. “Now Road 9 is ours again.”
If you want a nice coffee out in the sunshine, a street-side glimpse of Maadi life or a one-stop location to get a manicure, fix a shoe, copy a key, buy a book and grab lunch – Road 9 is the perfect venue. Just try to stay on the sidewalk.
October 22, 2010 by admin · Comments Off
We perked up when we heard about an update to our favorite Marriott. The hotel, splayed on the central island of Zamalek, is a calm, warm slice of history in the stir-crazy beehive of Egypt. Apart from two looming towers and a massive courtyard, the hotel is centered around an ornate, historical palace, originally built in 1869 to house guests for the Suez Canal opening.
That palace is the focus of the big news this fall, as the Marriott has just announced a comprehensive renovation to the building as well as several other changes to the property. Big improvements will be made to facets of the palace, which includes over a dozen meeting rooms, the Omar Khayyam Casino, a dozen places to eat and drink and a battery of shops — all while keeping the historical angles of the property well-preserved.
In addition to the main palace improvements, a swath of rooms in the west wing will be eviscerated to make space for a larger, more comprehensive spa facility. Those updates are scheduled to finish some time in 2012.
All total, the full renovation should add a great deal of improvement to an already outstanding property on the banks of the Nile. We can’t wait to get back to check things out
March 12, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
Formerly known as Golden Bells a low-key bar in Maadi, was recently renovated to Cairo Boss Bar -a favorite spot for Maadi residents and expats.Cairo Boss is also famous for hosting live bands, themed DJs and dance classes.
17, Road 257
February 1, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
Cairo Rugby has always been much more than just a rugby club: we’re a sports and social club that offers all sorts of sports and social events, and encourage members who enjoy a more-relaxed lifestyle (like bar perching) as much as those who enjoy taking part in sporting activities. As a result, we cater for sportspeople and leisure seekers of all shapes, sizes, ages, genders and persuasions.
You don’t have to be a rugby player to attend our twice-weekly training sessions (click on training). There are many who do not actually play full-contact rugby, but go along for a fitness session and to play ‘touch’. Sessions are attended by both men and ladies, of all sorts of ages and skill levels, and from several nationalities.
We also have popular twice-weekly football training for those who enjoy playing with round balls (click on football), and regular cricket matches for those who favour smaller balls (click on cricket).
Cairo Rugby is a great club, offering you excellent sporting activities, social events and clubhouse facilities! Please join us and enjoy yourself!
June 7, 2008 by admin · Comments Off
The Association of Cairo Expatriates (ACE) , just celebrated it’s 10th anniversary and it just keeps going from strength to strength. Read more