Category Archives: Home Maintenance

Downtown Architectural Preservation

Here is a screencap. Complete document coming soon.

Thanks to the good offices of the indefatigable Humphrey Davies, who not only translates novels but also keeps an eye on the Official Gazette of Egypt, TBE has learned that the government, in a move that can only be described as laudable, has set aside a large number of Cairo’s buildings and villas for architectural preservation. We weren’t able to find a copy of the Gazette on the government’s website, and the file is rather too large to post here, but will post a link if we find one, or send a copy via email to interested parties.

Some details after the jump.

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Filed under Downtown, Home Maintenance, Journalism, The Boursa, Translations

Cairo Gems 2: Mosquito Pellets

NO MAS !! ناموس

À l’ombre des jeunes moustiques en fleurs aka Season of Migration to TBE HQ

For some reason, many mosquitoes see fit to winter in TBE HQ. Our admittedly unthorough check of outlying areas have revealed no standing water, so we’re not sure where they’re breeding. Regardless, the alacritious manner in which they send reinforcements upon the death of one or more of their comrades leads us to believe that their secret breeding grounds, this New Jersey to TBE’s Boca Raton, are quite close, as the mosquito flies.

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Filed under Advertising, Cairo Gems, Home Maintenance, Uncategorized

Things To Eat In Cairo When It’s Cold


TBE loves nothing more than royal coats of arms emblazoned with stylized dolphins.

Real talk: Back in the late 1990s, a TBE correspondent used to work at the now-defunct location of Blockbuster Video in the Glover Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. One evening a number of men wearing wool greatcoats swept into the building. DC not yet having been overrun by czars, TBE was unsure what to make of their uniform attire, other than to remember his training, which called for increased vigilance when people in baggy coats stepped into the building, lest they be thieves.

They were not, as it turns out, thieves. Rather they were members of the secret service escorting Tipper Gore as she picked up a couple movies. One of the movies she rented was Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead.

So that’s where we got the title of this post.

Fittingly, considering that Al Gore was once a Democratic dauphin of sorts, the first recipe we’re featuring is Gratin Dauphinois, which is really simple and delicious aside from the tedious slicing of potatoes.

But first, one final aside: In order to forestall what would surely be a torrent of comments from correspondents angry at the fact that we misidentified the origin of the name of the dish called Gratin Dauphinois, let us now declare now that we are aware that the dish is in fact named after the dearly departed French province of Dauphiné, and not, as we’ve implied, the dauphin himself. If you’re interested in learning more about the distinction, you could do worse than to read this passage from Wikipedia, about which we’d like to learn more: “A major condition [of the 1349 treaty incorporating Dauphiné into France] was that the heir to the throne of France would be known as le Dauphin, which was the case from that time until the revolution.”

Recipes and more after the jump.

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Filed under Food, Home Maintenance, Politics, Restaurants

Cairo Gems 1: El-Ebiary

Prescript: “Cairo Gems” is a new gimmick TBE is developing in conjunction with the unknowing city of Cairo, in which we highlight some of our favorite spots. We stole the idea from “MA,” “JJ” or “JL” or some combination thereof, so all due respect to them. Our idea is to self-publish a book with our text and luscious photos by our photographer or maybe this fellow, TBE’s portraitist-in-residence. We will then sell the rights to AUC, so they can include our guidebook in the orientation packets distributed to study abroad students. Enjoy!

"This is what springformocracy looks like" ... "And you will know us by the trail of springform pans" ... "Leopard-Skin Springform-Pan Hat" ... etc.

"This is what springformocracy looks like" ... "And you will know us by the trail of springform pans" ... "Leopard-Skin Springform-Pan Hat" ... etc.

El-Ebiary: The name alone conjures up visions of Moorish Spain, or a place where birds are kept, perhaps in gilded cages. Alas, it is neither of those things. Instead it is a store, or rather two stores with one name and two other stores separating them.

To find it, one strolls down Shagarat al-Dor in Zamalek away from 26 July. When you see a girl’s legs dangling from what might be an airshaft on your right hand side, reflect on what you just saw as you proceed to the next store, then enter. There are a lot of housewares and kitchenware stuffed in this spot, which can be disconcerting, especially for those of you who, like TBE, have a delicate constitution. Do not be deterred, o ye of little patience for overstimulation.

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Filed under Cairo Gems, Food, Home Maintenance, Reviews

The Boursafication of Downtown : تي بي يي للترجمة

In lieu of posting a picture today, we direct our readers to this (new to us) website hosted by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which has a treasure trove of photos, videos, old newspapers, etc. from Egypt. Unfortunately for our purposes, we haven’t figured out a way to “borrow” photos, as we had planned. Nonetheless it is definitely worth checking out.

*         *          *

It is not often that TBE has occasion to praise the vision of the government. Someone call the Pointer Sisters, TBE is so excited. We think making downtown a pedestrian area is a capital idea, so much so that we aren’t averse to making cheap puns about it.

A couple caveats: We hope the redevelopment plan, when implemented, creates an open space accessible to all of Cairo’s residents. While we enjoy al-Azhar Park, we sometimes rue the fact that it is almost exclusively the preserve of foreigners, relatively well-to-do locals and groups of schoolchildren on field trips. We also hope that the new downtown is developed with an eye toward easing pollution, not just by banning cars but also through the creation of an “urban lung.”

As for the questions of whether the large sums that will be spent on redeveloping the area would be better spent on easing problems in more downtrodden areas than downtown, the answer is probably yes. That said, we see it as a more worthwhile use of funds than redoing the sidewalks in Zamalek and Garden City, to take a recent example. City or national governments are always going to spend money on prestige projects. This one at least has the potential to benefit all of Egypt’s citizens.

From al-Masry al-Youm’s Sunday, October 18 edition:

Plan to Develop Downtown Cairo, Banning Cars in the Streets

Later update: This version of the article delves into more detail about the proposed changes downtown and the process of demarcating Cairo’s borders.

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Filed under Downtown, Home Maintenance, The Boursa

Downtown Real Estate Update


Is a downtown renaissance underway?

TBE has been hearing a lot lately about the state of downtown real estate. A pair of articles in today’s al-Shorouk, both of which contain the same information, shed some light on the topic. TBE brings you the important information in convenient bullet form (with TBE’s analysis in parentheses), along with a video suggestion for marketing downtown apartments:

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Filed under Downtown, Home Maintenance, The Boursa, Translations

Architecture and Urban Renewal Updates

The corniche circa 1879

The corniche circa 1879.

Yesterday TBE had business in Zamalek. In the course of our circumambulations we gathered some information about the state of architecture and urban renewal schemes downtown and on the island. Later, at TBE HQ, we read with interest a recent contribution to Carnegie’s Arab Reform Bulletin by TBE acquaintance and future academic powerhouse Anne Mariel Peters, in which she writes that most of Egypt’s $5.4 fiscal stimulus package is slated for infrastructure projects. This would help explain the profusion of projects currently underway.

The updates are after the jump.

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Filed under Downtown, Home Maintenance, Oman, Special Reports