Mohandessin: the home of all that is weird and wonderful in Cairo…
Modando. Moho. The Engineer District. Malibu of Cairu. Mohandessin goes by the many names that we have just made up. The Giza district was built over agricultural lands, and up until the 1970s was made up mainly of massive luxury villas, but in the last years has seen an urban overhaul that exudes provincial distaste from most Cairenes, mostly associating the area with an acute phobia of traffic which leads to a general avoidance of the area at all times. But we think Moho has unfairly earned this bad rep, and there's plenty to be thankful for....
Shop Till You Drop
Most European countries will have a clean street or 500 which citizens will spend the day strolling through giddily dipping in and out of shops whilst still having the pleasure of being outside. This is called a High-Street. Mohandessin has the closest thing to a high-end high-street you're going to find in Egypt, with a concentrated amount of western brands to shop at. Think Gezirat Al-Arab Street and beyond. Now, aside from the benefits of avoiding the claustrophobia of shopping at packed malls in Cairo, you'll find that shops like Pull & Bear, Zara, H&M and the like will actually be stocked up with the latest collections in every size, as opposed to their busy mall franchises.
Never Miss A Kick
In a day an age where watching live European football is becoming increasingly more difficult due to continuous broadcasting restrictions, it's great to know that when there's a big match going on, there's a football cafe showing the match every ten feet in Modando. All these cafes will have the right channels to air the matches and they'll always be packed with a passionate bunch of supporters too.
Did You Try Turning it Off and On Again?
The history of the Computer Mall is a mysterious one. How does a community of 150 electronic shops, all selling almost the exact same equipment, and providing the same service actually function together in such a small space? Economics aside, you can literally find everything you ever need, and fix anything that's broken in the world of computers, games, phones and more, and it's cheap too. If one shop doesn't have what you need they'll say wait one moment, and go off to another one of their mates next door and grab it. It's still really confusing, but this strange dystopian matrix of wires and salesmen beaming with hubris make up the Khan el Khalili of electronics, a true landmark of Mohandessin.
Let's Get High
Two words - Mit 3o2ba. The dodgy mechanical repair street under the Mehwar bridge is famously known to inhabit a cluster of no hassle hash dealers, making it the easiest place to score. Just drive by with a 100 LE note hanging out the window and by the time you reach the other end of the street you'll have a nice chewy piece of Afghan sitting by your side.
Coffee to Goal Please
Where else in the world can you sit down and have an eat-in happy meal, or a coffee latte indoors while watching your favuorite football team play? The Zamalek training pitches and stadium are lined with F&B outlets such as McDonalds and Costa Coffee, meaning you can scout what's happening in the youth ranks and up whilst munching on a Big Mac or having a chit chat with your friends. Mohandessin is so awesome, Zamalek's stadium isn't in Zamalek, it's in Mohandessin bitches.
Fashion Fades, But Style is Eternal
It's 2014 people, surely you can't still all be hung up on big designer labels? It's just a piece of cloth, don't be fooled by the ridiculous capitalist pandering of high-fashion and realizse that you can look as slick or cool as you want by just choosing the pieces of cloth that are right for you. Now, whether it's dodgy Turkish bundles of clothes that have come in illegally or Zara, H&M and Pull & Bear collections from three years ago Modando has it all stocked in weird and wonderfully named outlets that may look 'bee2a' , but we dare you to go inside. Do you think anyone will notice the difference between a pair of brand new Massimo Dutti espadrilles from their 2011 collection and a pair just bought from Beymen? Fuck no. Modando!
All The World In Your Mohands…
If you're the wanderlusting type and looking out of your car window at all the gloomy, sepia toned chaos, then Mohandessin will take all your travel troubles away. Every other street is named after a country, Syria St., Algeria St., Sudan St... granted not TOP holiday destinations, but still, it's nice to pretend you're traipsing the globe... whilst stuck in traffic.
Mohandessien is the gateway to almost everywhere in Cairo and beyond. The epicentre of our to-and-fros. You want to go to xxxx, take the 6th of October bridge, you want to go to xxxx, take the 15th May bridge, you want to go to xxx, take the Mehwar, you want to go to xxxxx, take the Da2ery. Modando!
Your Local Watering Hole
While many bars and clubs in the area have tried to leave their mark and faded into nightlife oblivion, Cairo Jazz Club is still up and running after more than a decade and is often our first sight as we move into Mohandessin or last sight as we leave it. Live band or DJ sets every single day whether it's fist-pumping to Techno till the wee hours or, a glass of wine and cheese over some Oriental Jazz fusion. It's the place where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. Unless you didn't make a reservation. Or you're just two guys. Then go to a sports cafe or something.
Wrap Yourself in All The Flags
Because fuck patriotism, in Gam'et el Duwal el Arabya you will find what we reckon is the largest group of unlicensed sellers of flags in the world. Yes, you can get a variety of different sized Egypt flags, but you can also get flags for almost every country in the world, from Japan to Colombia to Tanzania. Hell, there are even flags for made up countries like Sponge Bob Land. We think we even saw an ISIS flag there once. Don't hate, don't discriminate.
So there you have it folks. Modando!
Photography by Mahmoud Asfour.