Sunday, November 28, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
A facebook group was recently founded by a girl in Cairo entitled, "Cairo Climbers." As you'd guess, the group fosters conversations concerning climbing in the MENA, pairs partners and details trips among other things. I recently sent a message to the group hoping anyone might want to get together for beers and talk about climbing or really anything aside from Arab Nationalism and midterm elections, and received several positive responses. One was from the group's founder, an American named Chrissie, who said she'd be down to grab beers if she didn't have to work that night for the business she recently started, "Cairo Cocktails"--a personal bartending service specializing in infused drinks and providing bartenders for private parties. I responded that we could all meet at a certain pub in Zamalek, and offhandedly commented on my curiosity at what bartending might look like in Egypt, as I had worked in bars the past four years in the states. Chrissie immediately responded that she was looking for a male bartender for an upcoming event, she'd pay me a pretty good wage, and would I be interested? I said sure, why not?...
This past Thursday night, a hired driver collected me, Chrissie, and her friend, Faye (UW-Madison graduate) from downtown Cairo at 5:30pm and drove us to Alexandria (about 130 miles away). Due to heavy traffic in getting out of Cairo, we arrived at the Deja Vu lounge in downtown Alexandria at 9:45pm. Keeping in mind that I had absolutely no idea what to expect, we ascended the stairs from the blue-lit alleyway entrance into what turned out to be a pretty high-end restaurant-turned-lounge at night. Mo, the owner, immediately asked us if we wanted any sushi. As a matter of fact, I did want some sushi. Two massive trays were brought out and we gorged ourselves while simultaneously setting up the bar to accommodate the three of us. Guests began pouring in around 10:30-11. It was a young crowd, all very well dressed, consisting of mostly Egyptians and French from what I could tell. Furthermore they were all highly interested in taking shots. No sooner had I finished mixing 13 Kamikaze shots was I mixing another 10 Coffee Grinders. The night actually turned out to be pretty fun. One man who happened to be pretty intoxicated kept telling me he was going to wait for me after the party and we were going throw a massive after-party at his home. He repeated himself about two dozen times in a 45 minutes span, after which I began serving him his vodka redbulls sans vodka (splash of Sprite to create an off-redbull taste). This is a tactic I learned at the Cascade Bar & Grill in Jackson, WY after a tourist who could barely stand became increasingly aggressive in her Bloody Mary ordering.
Around 3:30am, the guests began to trickle out and we began cleaning up. Mo brought us out another plate of sushi and me a steak with pepper sauce and mashed potatoes. A new driver then took us back to Cairo as the sun arose. We arrived in Cairo around 6:00am and I was dropped off along the Nile Rd. I walked across the bridge over the Nile to the island of Zamalek where I live. The (very) relative quiet of the city at such an hour had an almost romantic appeal. Some fishermen nearby had just awoken in their boats and were gearing up while further down the banks a man was splashing water upon the ground outside his cafe. The roads were calm(er) and the breeze over the water was very un-desert like.
I even almost made it over the bridge before a taxi slowed and released upon me an offensive assailment with his horn. Too tired to fight back, I surrendered and had him escort me home.