Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alcohol

Or khumra as its called in arabic........ I figured a healthy entry re fruit and veg had to be followed with a contrast! Most people do not drink alcohol- mainly for religious and cultural reasons..... however I was suprised by how many people do. There is now even an off-license whch will deliver to your door called 'Drinkies'. The seletion is limited, and if its wine you are after really the Egyptian stuff is the only one affordable- imported wines have a very high improt tax on them. The brands of Egyptian wine I have seen so far are, obelisque, grand marquis, sherharazad and arabesque. Beer is more common and more affordable ( and better!) There are a few bars- esp. in areas where lots of foreigners live- eg Zamalek, but the cafe is definitely the compasison for the old mens pubs back home. Sheesha being the vice. One thing which happens here which really doesn't happen back home, except in certain restaurants is the bring your own bottle- to a pub. You pay a fairly high 'corkage' but it works out cheaper if a group of you are going to drink spirits than if you buy the drinks directly from the bar, and you can even leave your bottle behind the bar (if its your regular haunt and you trust the staff not to add water, or a cheaper brand to it!!!). There is a certain prestige around having your bottle on your table- how to make friends and influence people! (reminds me of buying bottles of rum in bars in cuba!!!) Oh and the good news for the economy of Scotland- all they want to drink in these places is Scotch!!!
A lovely difference about the drinking culture here from that in Scotland, is that few people here end up wandering the streets drunk, causing trouble or creating pavement art!
A wee news flash for those travelling here who may want to buy spirits here- you can bring in whatever your allowance is- as usual anywhere, but if you get to the duty free shop (there is one in the Cairo Sheraton) within 24 hrs of landing- with your passport you can buy another 3 bottles of spirits and very resonably prices! This is something I didn't know for years- and has proved very useful since!!!! ( not that Cairo is driving me to drink- but its nice to have the choice!!!)

2 comments:

Nick said...

So maybe that will be one of the first visits when I arrive?!

Lorna (aka BellyLorna!) said...

Good idea Nick- duty free shop here we come!