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Romancing the sands


Romancing the sands

Celina Jaitly observes that every second shop in Cairo sells wedding gowns

Celina Jaitly’s earliest memories of Cairo are when she went there to visit her grandfather as a little girl and went on a camel ride by the pyramids. Two decades later, the beautiful actress was declared the brand ambassador of Egypt, and that was when she discovered the real Cairo. “I found Cairo to be the most romantic place on earth!” gushes the actress. “Imagine right in the middle of the desert there is the river Nile and the only place in the world where I saw varying skylines, some with towering modern skyscrapers and others with relics from ancient history like churches, tombs, the pyramids…..an intoxicating mix of the old and new.”

Cairo, she states, is a sprawling city that needs a couple of visits to explore. Home to some of the world’s most famous sights, including the sphinx and the treasures of Tutankhamen, it has millions of inhabitants living alongside the banks of the river Nile and close to the breathtaking pyramids of Giza. “The people of Cairo are very friendly. They may be religious, but they respect your religion too. They are generally very chilled-out, enjoying their walks by the river and bargaining in the numerous markets. In fact, once you have spent a few days in Cairo you will find yourself being drawn away from the many stunning structures here and becoming more interested in the everyday rituals based around city life,” informs the actress.

On her first visit to the city Celina tasted aysh shami (a kind of white bread) with an amazing vegetable and meat filling, an item that quickly became an obsession. And every visit thereafter she had to have this Egyptian sandwich. “They also have the bread made with wholewheat called aysh baladi which is equally scrumptious. Vegetarians will love Molakia which is a kind of vegetable stew to be had with rice or bread. Egyptian food is generally very healthy,” says Celina.

The actress also observed that Cairo’s backstreets have retained much of their medieval character and are worth exploring, while a stroll along the waterfront is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre. The main place to shop is Khan el-Khalili, a distinctive open market near the pyramids. Many visitors to this vibrant city have a wonderful time just wandering through the souks (markets) and taking in the sights, sounds and smells.

“A good rule here is to halve the first asking price and start haggling from there! And my personal observation has been that every second shop in the main city houses wedding clothes, including some of the most stunning wedding gowns I have seen! I guess that being the most romantic place in the world, it has loads of weddings taking place,” she smiles.

Source: ScreenIndia

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