Cairo is much as it ever was, improved in some respects and even more dire in others. I was last here in the early summer of 2013, when the hapless government of the Muslim Brotherhood was tottering into its last days. Now the streets are a good bit cleaner (and rather remarkably so in the old downtown), but that's not saying there's not still rather a way to go. Traffic, almost impossibly, has managed to get a great deal worse and is a topic of universal conversation.
But, as evidenced here, the Nile still flows, and there are still at least a few quite lovely places from which to admire it. We made it to this one, a longtime favorite, a day or two ago, and a lovely afternoon it was. We've also discovered, alas, that another of our favorite places - a tiny hole-in-the-wall that had the most fantastic shrimp and calamari sandwiches in the world - has vanished, but we'll survive. A third, the grandly faded old Café Riche, still exists, but now has service so atrocious - even by flexible local standards - that it might as well not (we left after thirty waiterless minutes).
In home news, the apartment has been set to rights, with quick visits from an electrician, a plumber, and our neighbor's unnervingly giddy houseman to make minor repairs and get things tidied up. The Mister has gone off to deal with things familial for a day or two, leaving me to fend for myself, and as soon as I hit "post" I'm heading off to a festive brunch with an old friend who has a lovely and deeply enviable flat in Zamalek, the island in the Nile that's home to many of the city's more cosmopolitan types. He's a got a view even better than this and connections that guarantee a solid wine cellar, so it should be a lovely afternoon.
And since it's Friday (which, remember, is more or less Sunday), there's even the possiblity that I won't, to the extent that's usually the case, be taking my life entirely in my hands, or rather those of a daredevil Cairo taxi driver. Wish me luck.