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?