Animal kingdom visits Cairo

Cairo is gearing up for Eid. Last night, as I closed my windows, I heard the familiar sounds of geese disturbed in their sleep, the rooster trying out his pre-dawn lungs and a new sound, the baa-ing of sheep. This is in central Cairo.

Farmers are bringing in their livestock to sell for slaughter during Eid al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice. The other day, in Gamaliya (Islamic Cairo), a man was whistling a herd of sheep through the main thoroughfare of el-Muiezz. Then I rounded a corner and nearly took out a large cow, one of those mournful Egyptian cows with skinny legs, huge ears and the saddest face that would break your heart.

Walking back from the fruit & veg market, my street has suddenly sprouted several sheep pens with brown shaggy, horned animals milling about, and the sidelanes are like a scene from Animal Farm.

Thursday. It all starts Thursday.

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

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