Discussions about swimming pools would not really be the average conversation on the street in Cairo. Although there are a couple of public pools (i.e. very cheap ones) they are not the sort of place a western girl would feel comfortable, or so I am told- not prepared to risk it! So if you can't get away from Cairo through the summer heat and head to the north coast or Sharm, then the only options are hotel or club pools.
There are many private clubs in and around the city- the largest and most famous is the one right beside me- the Gezira Club. To use the facilities at these clubs you either have to be a member, or go in with a member. Sometimes they are less strict mid week but whether you use club or hotel pool the main issue is often price. You can pay for day use at almost all the big hotels and it can cost anywhere between 100le and 200le (£10-20). Sometimes you can't even pay for day use and you have to rent a room for the day or a 'cabin' i.e. a room by the pool- this tends to be a cheaper option if there is a group of you going.
The pool I keep going back to is a small, private club that tends to ignore the 'members only' rule unless they don’t like the look of you! It is lovely because it is right beside the Nile- a great place to get away form the noise and hussle bussle that is Cairo, and is cheap to get into (only 40le). The downside is that it is fairly far away so taxis are an interesting experience to get there.
The other good thing for me about this particular pool is that they don't allow veiled women inside. This seemed a incredibly strange and prejudicial to me at first….but the thought behind it is that there are many clubs where veiled women go, mainly with their children, and for those who wish to lie in their bikini and catch some rays it can be very off putting when those around you are all fully covered. You feel like you are being judged (whether you are or not is of course a different matter- but you feel it!)
Anyway- today I went to the pool to enjoy the sun, with my friend Harriet……. Here she is….