Monday, February 06, 2006
Last Friday we went to a junk market on the outskirts of the City of the Dead.This is a very poor part of Cairo with all dirt streets and refuse on the streets everywhere. The people are also very poor. We had been warned that there was junk with the odd moment of treasure. Well there really was junk- some of which when you looked at it, no one could have any possible use for. The place was packed with people who were milling everywhere and the place was interspersed with mobile food carts and little tea huts where the men smoke the water cooled nargilehs.Often these huts are a couple of chairs under a ramshackle shelter on dirt floors and ingrained with dirt.The photos I have taken exude a certain charm and there certainly there was an element of that, with eclectic collections of all sorts of hotch-potch junk, and I as a photographer looked for the most picturesque arrangement, which is far from a true picture. People here are poor, very poor, their income almost nil and there are no social services in Egypt- the dirt here is the dirt of centuries, and the water is not the best. Donkey carts are still the mode of transporting most things as well as scooters which bip incessantly for foot traffic to move out of the road ( in fact most of Cairo bips its horns incessantly but it is not the insistent bang on, road rage type of endless beep ,of get out of my road or else ,but more a reminder that the car/taxi/scooter is there). The photo with the colours in it was actually things for sale- mostly broken toys- broken dolls heads and plastic guns and other plastic junk- it is hard to imagine that anyone would want any of this.This is also the place where all old computer monitors go- there were hundreds and hundreds.