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The Sun Valley of Cairo | by modenadude
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The Sun Valley of Cairo

If you've ever been to the area in Los Angeles known as Sun Valley (in northern San Fernando Valley), you'll know that it's known for its car junk yards. There are certain areas in Sun Valley where "wreckage yard" and "auto dismantling" signs densely saturate the skyline as much as the billboards and ads do on Sunset. If you ever need any type of car part, head over to Sun Valley because that city has it all.


Well, I think I've found the Sun Valley of Cairo. Because I live in it.


My street is named after the French heiroglyph Jean-François Champollion, who was given the task of deciphering the Egyptian portions of the Rosetta Stone from 1822-1824 and is credited as giving birth to the field of modern Egyptology. This guy was huge, to say the least.


The street starts at one of the main streets in Downtown Cairo, 26th of July (and along its stretch is home to Abou Tarek, a popular Egyptian koshary joint... closed during Ramadan), and ends at the foot of the famous Cairo museum, the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, wherein you can find artifacts Champollion no doubt had his hands in, and where the mummy of Ramses II himself is safely kept.


So if the man was a big deal, the street should be a pretty big deal as well, right?


Major wrong.


From the start to the finish, all you'll find on Shambluan (the Arabized way of spelling his name) is car part after car part after car part. And because there are no garages, the cars are built right there, on the street. Luckily it's a one-way street because two lanes going down that congested road would create even worse traffic jams than it already does.


I'm a car guy, so I should feel at home here, but I don't. I have no clue why. The smell? The constant greasy hands? The loud banging at all hours of the day? All could be factors why I just don't feel at home on the streets. But I will say this, of all the streets in Downtown Cairo, nothing reminds me of America more than the modified cars and English bumper stuckers on Shambliuan.


I think the man pictured is named Hamad. I have to start writing these names down because you either find someone named Muhammad -- literally every third person here is named Muhammad -- or a very random name I've never heard before. But I was never really good with names. He was a nice guy who spoke very little English, but got very excited when he saw the camera and wanted to pose in front of the Civic he was working on.





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Taken on August 30, 2010