October 12, 2012 by admin · Comments Off
Along with your keys and your wallet, a digital camera has become a key element on the list of things you should be carrying at all times. Digital cameras have indeed become more of a necessity than a luxury. However, the unfortunate reality is that camera prices are extremely high in Egypt due to high customs tariffs. Don’t give up though; with the help of our guide and a bit of a search in Cairo, you may not have to wait for a friend to bring you a camera from abroad anymore.
First of all, it’s important to determine what kind of photography you will be doing and the features that most matter to you in order to narrow down the search into the category that will be most suitable. If you’re looking for an easy to use ‘point-and-shoot’ camera that takes care of all the settings automatically, then it is a compact digital camera you’re to look for. This type usually starts from as little as 500LE and can reach up to 3000LE, depending on the picture quality and freedom of control it it allows you.You can find a wide array of brands providing these pocket-sized cameras, with Canon and Nikon belonging to the upper range of prices if you want to experiment a little with manual settings.
Compact cameras are very easy to find in Cairo; big hypermarkets such as Carrefour and Spinney’s in Citystars often have special promotions or free-gift offers on their collections. The good thing about compact cameras, besides being small and light, is that their prices don’t usually differ that much here than Europe and the US. However, prices may take a slight jump when you shop at places like RadioShack or CompuMe; especially when it comes to the higher end models.
If it’s time to upgrade to a more professional level and explore outside the auto-mode limits, then you can’t go wrong with a DSLR (that’s a big black scary camera with changeable lenses). They allow you full control and more fun in forming and taking your photo, and of course the sharpness and quality are much better than that of a compact camera. A DSLR will definitely let you fully adjust all the settings to get the picture exactly how you want it to be through light exposure, shutter speed, etc.
Downtown Cairo is a perfect spot for DSLR camera shopping and maintenance. However, if the prices are much lower, which they usually are, it means that the camera doesn’t come with a warranty. Professional DSLR prices start in the 3500LE to 5000LE range and can go up to even higher eye-popping prices. A 15 Megapixel Canon Rebel costs around the 4500LE with its standard lens (18-55mm), while the HD video recording Nikon D3100 retails for 5500LE.
Along the narrow alleys and old apartment buildings of the Abdeen area lie some small shops that are almost bursting with both new and used photography gear. King Digital at 15 Roshdy St. is one that sells various types of camera lenses that suit your camera, filters, tripods to cases and picture frames. You may want to call first or ask on their always updated Facebook group to make sure what you’re looking for is available as it might be in stock but not available at hand.
Having another specialized photography shop in the same building makes it easier, though more tempting, to keep going back and forth trying to get the best bargain. El Houfy has so much to offer that their tripods are forced to stand outside the store for the lack of space. El Houfy also buys and sells used camera gear, and you can even make a request for a used camera you want to buy and they’ll keep an eye out for you and contact you when it’s in. Maintenance is also available.
In Mohandessien, El Shennawi is known as a reliable authorized retailer by Canon, Nikon and other brands, as well as for having impressive discounts. Additionally, you can find cameras for purchase on websites such as Souq.com or Nefsak, which fully guarantee your product. There are many choices to browse through and choose from, so take your time reading about the camera and comparing models first.
If you miss the old days when a picture was meant to be held in hand, Antar studio (180 Tahrir St., Bab El Louk) is popular for its high resolution printouts at cheap prices. A standard A4 coloured picture is printed for 6LE and the colour quality is unbeatable.
It’s strange that Cairo isn’t more clued up on the technical aspects of photography, especially when there’s so much to capture. It’s still seen as a bit of a specialist hobby, when it’s actually very accessible. Regardless of what type of camera you might go for, it’s always the one behind it who makes the picture what it is, so be creative and enjoy what is more of an investment than a purchase.
April 22, 2011 by admin · Comments Off
Dining in Cairo has taken on a new sense of urgency in the revolutionary age. In the spirit of abiding by the curfew, last orders at many of Cairo’s dining establishments until recently were not much later than 10:30. This was a bit of a shock to diners and restaurants alike. 10:30 BR (before the revolution, that is) would often find restaurants still awaiting their first guests. Restaurants would often be packed the rest of the evening, with several rounds of diners seated into the wee hours of the morning.
While the expansion of the curfew to a more locally-appropriate time (2 am) has improved things, it continues to impact Cairo’s restaurants. During a recent foray downtown, when the curfew was still set at midnight and restaurants had to make do with only a single seating, we arrived at Le Bistro, a relatively new arrival on the downtown dining scene, at 10:30 to find the place bursting with activity, and hardly able to accommodate our (admittedly large and rather boisterous) group.
Accommodate us they did though, and the experience was a delightful surprise. Downtown has long been known for its fine local establishments (Gad, Abu Tarek, Felfela) as well as its faded, fusty, gloriously Cairo-ancien options (Estoril, Café Riche, the Greek and Italian clubs). But it’s hardly been the center for gastronomical innovation, at least up until now.
Le Bistro is tucked away on a quiet corner of Hoda Sharawy Street just off of Falaky Square. It therefore perfectly suggests itself for an evening that includes a stop by the cafe and bar Horreya. An ornate ironwork sign outside establishes Le Bistro’s elegantly retro credentials. It consists of two sides, a pub and a restaurant. Both are stylishly designed; the pub plush and warm with deep reds and cozy tables; the restaurant more modern and sparse, adorned in elegant soft blue décor.
The service and menu are appealing. The menu replicates a French bistro experience: salads to start, fish, chicken or steak to follow, crepes, mousse, crèmes or profiteroles to finish. We brought with us an army of hungry diners and sampled widely off the menu. The salads are excellent; the hearty mains are not to be outdone. I particularly enjoyed my steak medallions served with sautéed vegetables, French fries and garlic butter. The cuts of meat are among the best available from local sources in town. I’ve never been much of a fan of those overly-elegant establishments that resort to imported beef. Le Bistro’s steaks confirm there’s no reason why local supplies can’t be excellent.
Le Bistro provides yet another attractive alternative for the burgeoning downtown dining scene. One of our guests that evening has made it his business to try to usher in the renaissance of downtown Cairo. It’s a compelling vision. Imagine wandering the gloriously designed and constructed streets of Ismail’s European downtown elegantly restored and upgraded: passing galleries, offices, residences, cafes and restaurants as you go, unimpeded by the crush of cars along pedestrianized alleys. While this might appear a far-off vision, with the ongoing arrival of elegant establishments like Le Bistro, it’s a vision that could easily be attained.
Details: 8 Hoda Sharawy St., Downtown. Open from 11 am daily. Tel: 2392 7694. Dinner for two: under LE300.
March 12, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
One of the most rewarding things you can do as a food addict is eat at a new restaurant and find a real gem, particularly one that hasn’t reached household name status – rather like Marco polo going to off the beaten tracks to discover new countries and cultures, and when the rest of the world catches on, boasting to anyone who will listen, how you ‘discovered’ them first.We visited on a Sunday afternoon, when Planet Africa has that laid back feel, prior to students going out time and those who haven’t finished work yet, which all makes it perfectly suited to a relaxed meal. The menu has oodles of appeal: it doesn’t try to be too fancy or cleaver, but packs in favorites that make choosing so difficult. It’s altogether an inviting place, even if you’re not hungry. I had the grilled streak with salad and fries, always a popular choice; steak always cooked to order and big enough to feed two.
Of particular note are their stuffed potato wedges – golden fried potatoes stuffed with seafood and served with roasted marinara sauce. Since we’re in planet Africa, the tribal bread (crusty ciabbatta bread topped with tomatoes, olive oil, basil and garlic in balsamic vinegar) is an excellent way to start off our meal.
With items on the menu like “Savannah Veggie Salad’, “Jungle Sunshine Salad”, “Kwazulu Chicken” (flame grilled chicken breasts marinated with special herbs, topped with vegetables, roast beef and melted mozzarella and served with a loaded baked potato); dinner becomes a real treat at Planet Africa.
Sometimes it can take a while for the food to arrive but it’s never really a struggle as you can see both chefs and staff consistently working hard to please everyone.
March 12, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
A typical English pub set in the middle of Cairo.
Different entertainment every night and an international kitchen with great pub Grub, English breakfast served every Friday and Saturday, fantastic value for money.
Jazz cafe with good piped, and sometimes live, music.
Open from 6 PM – 2 AM
32 Jeddah St.
376 16888 – 0101390735
June 7, 2008 by admin · Comments Off
Just as pleasing as the food at Villa 55 is the atmosphere. Tucked away on Road 9 in Maadi, across from the popular American home-style eatery Lucille’s, this garden restaurant is a great place to take a break from the city Read more