Streets whose numbers don't seems to follow any rational sequencing, house numbers that quite often do not follow sequencing, medans that seem to be laid out like labyrinths, myriad medans where one wrong turn could leave you completely lost, cars squeezed on both sides of the streets, skillful driving abilities to be able to navigate the narrow streets, scattered shops, can all leave you a litte fazed! Add to that the fact that you don't know the language, Cairo suddenly seems a lot less exotic than when you first heard that you were moving here!
Friends / neighbours keep asking me about places where stuff can be found in Maadi to help them settle in so tried thinking of a ready reckoner for some basic stuff. So here goes...
First things first..All addresses are quoted as 2 road 18, 5 road 235 etc..this means that its building number 2/5 on road no 18/235..
Maadi has enough choice in terms of supermarkets - take your pick from Kimo (1 Road 210, Degla, Maadi, Tel: (02) 516-1788 - (02) 519-8764 ), Seoudi ( Road 253 & 214, Degla, Maadi, Tel: (02) 754-6007), Metro (Road 9, La Selky Road & Misr-Helwan Agriculture Road), Miriam (7B Road 205 with 253, - Degla, Maadi, Tel: (02) 519-6488 - (02) 519-6499 - (02) 516-5833). These are typically the ones frequented by expats as they stock a lot of overseas stuff usually not available elsewhere.
Another supermarket Alpha located on the Corniche (Tel: (02) 525-6400) is also reasonably well stocked and has adequate parking.
Other than this, there is an Abu Zekry (86 Road 9, Tel: (02) 358-4281) & Mahmood Massoud on Road which are also decently stocked.
However, a quick word of advice, always check the expiry date before you buy, no matter which store you buy from, esp when you see the tempting "buy 1 get 1 free!!"
All of these will deliver home, free of charge, except for Metro which charges a nominal amount for delivery.
Maadi boasts of a huge City Centre with Carrefour as the anchor store. Over the last 8 months a number of other foreign brands have opened outlets like Next, Evans (of London), Guess, Mothercare, Radio Shack, Top Shop, D'damas, Mango, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Club Aldo, Charles & Keith, Adidas etc..and a whole host of popular local ones like Bella Donna, Daly Dress, Concrete, J&B, Cilantro etc..
The City centre also has a fairly large amusement centre, so you can let the kids amuse themselves while you shop.
Cairo also has Spinneys and Hyper but these are quite far away from Maadi.
If you are looking for fresh vegetables, then head towards to local souq on Road 7. Fresh vegetables/ fruits are available all the year round, though during summer the quality may not be that great.
If a souq is not your cup of tea, then head to any of the supermarkets and you can get a good variey of pre-packed fresh vegetables / fruits. Alternately, if the sun is too hot for you, all the supermarkets home deliver in Maadi free of cost except for Metro which levies a delivery charge.
While many brands are available in tetrapacks, if you are a sucker for fresh, full cream mik, there are a few outlets, but I have found the following two to be quite good. One is Khalifa on Road and the other is El Madena el Menwara (Tel: 25169311) on the crossing of El Nasr & La Selky roads (next to Momen). Both outlets sell fresh yoghurt, fresh cream, icecreams and some traditional desserts.
For the followers of Omar Khayyam, Drinkies on Road 9 opposite Metro supermarket sells wine, beer and some other alcohol. Also Mahmoud Massoud at the corner from Metro also sells wines and some basic alcohol.
Drinkies is closed on Fridays while Massoud is not.
CHICKEN / MEAT
While there are butchers offering fresh meat, I prefer to buy mine from Metro. Out of the 3 Metros, the one on La Selky has the freshest quality. Even Seoudi has decent quality meat.
Of course, if you want premium, excellent quality Australian meat, head towards Gourmet Egypt on the autostrad near Maadi City centre. The prices are steep but the quality excellent! They also deliver home and you can place orders on the telephone or via the internet.
While all supermarkets offer fish, my mother-in-law prefers to buy hers from the Arab Souq. According to her, the fish is fresh, larger variety, and, most importantly, the fishmonger cuts the fish the way she likes it!
This souq is behind Grand Mall. If you go past Grand Mall, past the Orbit showroom, then take a left from the cirlcle, go straight down, past another circle, in front is the Arab Souq / local market. At the begining of the souq, on the right hand side, are 2 fish shops.
If the souq is not where you want to head, then Seoudi, Metro and Carrefour all sell decent fish.
Fancy a cup of coffee with some friends or just want to relax after a full day's work, you are spoilt for choice. Beanos (Road 9), Coasta Coffee (near Grand Mall & Road 9), Cafe Greco (Road 9 & CSA), Cilantro ( Road 9, El Nasr), Grand Cafe (Corniche), Second Cup (Road 9, though never tried it)
In case your shipment is on its way, and, you desperately need some bed linen/ table linen then there is Suzzette on the way to the Corniche. Once you get off the bridge that takes you out of Maadi onto the Corniche, its on the left on the first floor, the signage is pretty clear. There is also a Bed & Bath outlet just across Abu Zekry, next to the Kodak shop on Road 9, though I have never tried it.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES / STATIONERY
Need stuff for the kids, go to Bakier Stationery (Building 2, Road 218, Maadi, Tel : 02 25199088 - 02 25211040) or to Saamir &Ali. The later is a huge shop stacking everything from school requirements to art supplies, photographic paper, computer periperherals, papr products, office stationery etc. You can call them on 19891 for home delivery as well.
Of course, Carrefour has a huge stationery section as well.ENGLISH BOOKSHOPS
Now that is a not-so-easy to find object. One of the largest bookshops stocking a decent number of English titles is in Zamalek called Diwans, but Maadi has a couple of them as well. There is Adam's Bookshop in Grand Mall, Al-Kotob on La Selky and Bookspot on Road 9.
The unique thing Bookspot is that they will buy back the book from you at a discounted price when you have finished reading, and do not want to keep the book!
Al-Kotob is also stocks a decent range of titles and organises a number of book readings, author meets etc. Get registered on their website and get regular updates on what's happening at this very happening book corner!
While many of us tend to carry a medical box with medicines from back home, there will be times when you need something locally Maadi has a number of pharmacies, though the one that I use is Haytham & Salaah in Grand Mall. Its a large, reputed chain and stocks medicines, bath neccesities, baby stuff, hair dyes, sun blocks, make-up etc...
Just behind the Grand Mall is a 24 hour chemist, next to Maghrabi Optics - can't remember the name but even during Ramadan its open 24 hours and that's saying something!
If the family is unwell, and you need a quick consult with a doctor, most expats end up going to either Ghaly's Medical centre (32, 33, 34 Golf St, Tel: (02) 380 92 47 - 359 25 93 ) or the Degla Medical Centre (4, St. No 203 Degla Maadi ).
However, As-Salam International Hospital (Tel: (02) 524-0077) on the Corniche is also a well run, well equppied hospital, and I would recommend it for more serious ailments.
...and finaly, when you are bored or need to take a break and you want to watch a movie there are two theatres close by, and, yes, they do screen English movies. Bandar Cinema (Inside Bandar Mall, 1 Palestine street, new Maadi, Tel: (02) 519-0770 - (02) 519-0455) or Family Land (Corniche el Nile, Osman Towers, Tel: (02) 524-8100 - (02) 524-8200 - (02) 524-8400 - (02) 524-8600) are easily accessible and seem to screen a lot of English movies for children! So buy your popcorn, take your juice-box, sit back, relax and enjoy the movie!