It's a Palace ] [ Busy #1 ] Busy #2 ] End of the Week ]

EN BREF #2: NEVER BEEN THAT BUSY!!!

Jzzzzzzzzzzzz, for a minute, when the Egyptian Federation invited me to stay in the Marriott as originally planned, I thought I was going to be able to stop and do nothing. Yeah right !!!!

Thing is. This is Cairo. You just CANNOT/WON'T do NOTHING!!! And because of the heavy traffic, wherever you go will take between 1h and 1h30, you have to calculate and organise yourself!!

Always things to see, places to visit, food to be tasted, and most of all, most of all, friends to see. Because the Egyptian Tradition is to welcome their visitors by taking care of them. Making sure they are looked after. That they are having a great time while in Egypt. "Cairo shines by you, you enlighten our country" they welcome you with... Yes, what a country Egypt is.

It's a not stop of meetings friends, officials, Ministers & TV shows thanks to "Uncle" Assem Khalifa, Egyptian Fed President mainly. Basically, I feel like a Prime Minister, having to divide my time during the day to make sure I meet with everybody!!!!

And does it makes up for a few bad memories in my career? Oh yes ...


Karim, Raneem & Nouran
on a 6th October Bridge
HUGE Billboard

THURSDAY

Started with being greeted by Tamer Mamdouh, you may recognise him from the Cairo Ladies World last December and from Sharm, as he was an active part of the Organisation Committee.

After dropping my luggage in the sublime Marriott, we walked to the right of the hotel, on the River Nile, passed the Maxim's Cruise Boat that Karim Darwish and his wife Engy had organised the Opening Dinner on last year, and about 15m later, we were eating at the Fish Restaurant Nile City. Thanks Tamer, that was great!

FRIDAY

Following morning, bit of catching up with the 100's emails and normal SquashSite Duties, lunch with a friend in the Marriott Gardens where honestly, all Cairo comes to have breakfast, apparently the best place in Zamalek!
I am now addicted ...



Then Ramy picked me up around 6 with Dalal his mum, it took a while for the blond I am to find the right exit (the hotel is vast) and we went to that Magic Place I love so much, Sequoia.

Again, on the Nile - Nile mon Amour - this restaurant is one of the nicest of Zamalek - and if it's wide open during 10 months of the year, for the "winter", yes, if you can call that winter in the rest of the world standards, they close it with transparent plastic wall, which means you are protected from the cold while still enjoying the unique Nile atmosphere.



Around 8.30, Egyptian Federation President "Uncle" Assem Khalifa joined us to wizzz me to the Media City - that was a bit of a drive, especially at night as the access is well, not that obvious!!!

After a little bit of delay at security as I didn't have any ID, we finally went in that HUGE Media City - the word CITY is not exagerated, it's enormous!!!

Why you may ask did we go to the Middle of Nowhere at 10pm? Well, because Uncle Assem managed to get us both on one of the most respected/famous shows of Egyptian TV, 360, with Ossama Kamal. It was fun to be "the performer" again, make up, spotlights, attention and all!

It was very late by the time we came back ... End of day working about 2am ... 

SATURDAY

Following morning, I had to change room for noise trouble, and intended to do that before WSF Vice-President, former PSA board member and Men's Team tournament Director  Mohamed Menshawy met me at 11.30 for breakfast, where you may ask? OF COURSE IN THE GARDENS!

Mensh is one of the only Egyptians I know that not only is on time, but usually early!!! It didn't miss, he was there at 10.30! He is one of the first friends I made in Egypt all the way back there in 2006 during the Worlds in Giza. His friendship has been invaluable over the years, he is one of the people that have made this trip possible, and to be honest, him and his wife Zouzou are just one of my best friends.

After our meeting in the Gardens under the warm sun, I finally changed the room for a much better one - thanks Mensh - got settled, did a bit of work, and arranged by my friend Osama ElSharkawy - Mental Coach, IT wizard and Snooker player/coach - I was meeting in Ma'adi, was picked up by a London Cab!

I kid you not.

There is now a very reliable Taxi company that is constituted only with London Black Cabs! They are on time, and pretty good. Priceless in Cairo when you are visiting.

A superb evening in Ma'adi Road 9, first meeting with more friends in the Caffe Greco, one of the most popular terraces - but not the biggest by far - of Ma'adi. People come here and stay forever, you have your outside table reserved as per use - understand nobody would sit at your table duing the hours you normally come....

Then Mori Sushi, where else!?

A nice walk in Ma'adi, then back to the hotel. Again, it's very late and I have to finish some work, not in bed before 2....


A few friends at the Egyptian Federation

SUNDAY - RAIN DAY

Following morning was Rain Day. If you never lived a rainy day in Cairo, you do know realise the CHAOS a few drops of rain cause in this city!!! There are no real drainage in Egypt I'm told, so rain just stands there and doesn't go anywhere. And life just stops!

I was supposed to be picked up at 9.30 by Tamer who was helping with the Champs organisation, to go to the Heliopolis Club to take a few more pics of that great place, have breakfast with Mensh at the Club, then off to the Federation Office to meet with Mona Fawzy, Fed Office Manager, the real Boss of the place!!!

I'm KIDDING Nassef George, I am kidding, you ARE the big Boss...

Traffic being very difficult, Tamer struggled to arrive to me, then of course, the Heliopolis club visit was off - with the rain of course, nothing would have been opened - so we went directly to the Fed Office and waited as the day of work starts a bit later than it would in the rest of the world. But then again, you will find them still working at 9pm.... It's just a different way of organising the work load....

As I struggled like heck to sleep that night, only grabbing like 3hours of rest the whole night, I was very happy to crash on my return around 3!

Bit of work done after, and at 7.30, met with Omar Azbawy, his name in Egypt, Abdel Meguid, for the rest of  you in the world. Do not start me on the names & Egypt, it's a non ending amazement!

We walked a bit in Zamalek, Lord I love that place, then off we went to Fuego Zamalek.

One thing you've got to understand, is that I love my food. But I have been on strict diet for years, and it is working, I'm slowly losing all I took when I stopped smoking my 70 a day and no more squash.

And sushis are the only things I can stuff myself with and not put on weight.

Except when you trust Omar to order for you, as he manages to order rolls that must be about 2000 calories each, and there are about 100 of them on a plate, on YOUR plate.....

Nasty that evening was... Merci Omar!!!!


Everything was ready....


SuperMona today's Work Load...


Slides from Venue

Rest of the Week

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