The Gem Of The Suez Canal

Our friend, Sam of ‘Cindik’, described Ismalia as the ‘gem’ of the Suez Canal. He is not wrong. Ismalia is half way down the canal and all private yachts are obliged to spend a night at the marina. We spent a week here and discovered this wonderfully characteristic Egyptian town.


Mohammed of Ismalia

Our main connection was suggested by Sam in the guise of Mohammed, a young local Muslim boasting polite manners and a taxi. Mohammed is the man to know and anyone visiting Ismalia should give him a call, whether to hire him for a day to visit Cairo (his presence around the pyramids rids you of the annoying vendors and guides) or to pick up cheap diesel. I think he’s even mentioned in Noonsight. His number is 0121 538 285. Mohammed, you have been brilliant and as promised here is that pic we took of us by the pyramids. Thank you.  Rabena ma’ak, or  ربنا معاك



Everyone else of Ismalia

I should just mention George’s Bar before I continue. This is a wonderful old British-style pub, where an evening can be spent forgetting you ever left the British Isles. Sadly the pub also offers British style prices for beer, but the food is so cheap, and damn fine too, that you soon forget the expensive libation.


The rest of my commentary of this fine town will be done by picture. I have to say I was bowled over by the local people’s willingness to be photographed. Only three people declined their portrait being taken and a couple of people tapped me on the shoulder and told me off (one for photographing his cycle shop!), but the rest of Ismalia were queuing up. Young lads jumped in front of each other, parents grabbed their children and market traders picked up fruit and offered it to the camera. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: who said Egypt was a difficult place? You couldn’t get a more friendly reception than in Ismalia, though I am referring only to the common people here. The authorities are still shits and I hate that I have to play the passport game with the security guards on the gates of the marina. What’s that all about?



Amongst all the things going on here, check out the cat on the pile of rubbish




Guess what this man sells


Business good?




Old boy


Kid on the right knicked my glasses for this shot. Took five minutes to get them back!



 

Ahmed, Mohammed, Mehmet, Mohammed, Mohammed & Ahmed







10 Comments on “The Gem Of The Suez Canal”

  1. Jamie

    Mayke, I can’t emphasize how much these people are so accommodating, friendly and, best of all, not in your face. Just very down to earth people.

  2. ALF AVISON

    HAVE JUST HEARD TODAY 3rd JANUARY 2012 THAT GEORGE’S RESTAURANT IN ISMAILIA HAS CLOSED . MR AKRAM THE OWNER HAS CLOSED THE DOORS – THE RESTAURANT ( THE BEST IN EGYPT ) HAS BEEN OPEN SINCE 1950. SAD LOSS AND IT WILL BE MISSED – I ALWAYS TOOK MY GROUPS THERE FOR THE BEST FOOD – DRINKS AND SERVICE – WE ALL WISH MR AKRAM WELL FOR THE FUTURE – YOU AND THE RESTAURANT WILL BE MISSED – ALF AVISON. (ENGLAND)

    1. Liz

      Not sure it was the best in Egypt, but I remember it was a great place for a drink, and the food was good. I’m sorry it has closed.

    2. Jamie

      Hi Alf. I think I got more out of George’s than Liz did! Very sad to hear this as it was a fantastic place with real heritage. The end of an era. What on earth is going to replace it?

  3. Alf AVISON

    I will be visiting Ismailia this may 2013 I will be seeing the previous owner of George’s bar. Mr akram. I still organise reunions back to the Canal Zone and can be contacted at :

    Alf. AVISON. P.o.box. .99. Spalding. Lincs. pe11. 9ns

    Next group is April. 2014.

  4. Alf avison

    I am visiting Ismailia and Fayid again this year 2015  and still organising groups back to the Canal Zone where I was stationed with the British army in the 1950s anyone who wants details of the Canal Zone or would like to join my groups contact me on my e.mail.  alfavison@talktalk.net   Regards Alf avison you can write to me at :   Alf avison.  P.o.box 99. Spalding Lincolnshire. PE 11. 9 NS. England  today’s date is 1st April 2015

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