Cairo is an incredibly busy, bustling city. It's also an incredibly hot city. That is why every weekend, all summer long, it becomes significantly less busy and bustling as just about everybody who's anybody heads to the Mediterannean coast for some fun in the sea breeze sun. Some go to Alexandria. Most go a bit further to the North Coast. And the hour drive in between couldn't join two more different destinations.
The North Coast boasts an insanely bright blue sea. The crowd is younger and more liberal. Women are walking around in the first shorts, skirts and tank tops I have seen in the country. Stylish villas and cruising jet skiis, hip shopping and cafe dining. The vibe is here markedly more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern.
My uncle recently added to his small collection of flats around the country with a new apartment here. So we're enjoying days on the soft sand beaches and evenings in the warm pool. Long nights dwindle by in stylishly lit clusters of outdoor cafes.
It's the first place we have been that I can't find in a guidebook, and I'm fairly certain we're the only tourists in the entire city. Living it up like the locals do during their regular weekend getaways.
(And smoking sheesha out of fruits!)