While trying to decide what to do on Friday I came across an article in Time magazine claiming that Cairo - not any place in the U.S. - was home to the BEST BURGER IN THE WORLD. You can find that article here:
The burger place is in the upper-class suburb of Maadi, which is about 30-40 minutes south of where we live. We had been trying to begin a weekly tradition of "Felucca Fridays" - that is, going out on a sailboat on the Nile once a week at sunset to have one peaceful hour to clear the noise, chaos, and pollution of downtown Cairo from our eyes, ears and lungs - so we attempted to bargain with the Felucca captains to provide a sort of "water taxi" for us down the Nile (actually up, since it runs South to North) to our destination.
So we ambled down Corniche Al-Nil (the road that runs along the Nile), where we were hounded relentlessly by these felucca hawkers to get on their "felucca motorboats" which blast Arab music and have crazy blinking neon lights. They were trying to charge us 5 times as much as a simple ride on a sailboat would cost, even BEFORE we brought up the taxi service to Maadi, so we decided to just hop on a train down to Maadi. It was right around iftar-time, so the streets of Cairo were eerily silent, as everyone was busy somewhere else breaking their fast (more on iftar in an upcoming post about Ramadan). In a city of around 16 million people, it was weird to see the subway system completely empty (see picture).
The Metro is the preferred method of transportation for many because it only costs 1 LE (18 cents) to go almost anywhere in the city. Sadly, the closest Metro stop to our apartments is a half hour walk from the very bottom of the island, so we usually take cabs or just walk from downtown.
So off we were to test the theory that Cairo - of all places! - is home to the best burger in the world. Lucille's was right near the metro stop and we quickly felt at home in the nice American diner/restaurant atmosphere (and I'm not talking about Glory Days at 4 AM). We ordered and got our burgers, which were large and delicious, but I was not about to make any dramatic proclamations in say…Time magazine.
We decided that the author of the article had gotten incredibly sick of Egyptian food, and had been dying for something familiar, and he discovered this delicious (albeit, in my opinion, not world-class) burger. I mean come on, he’s never even been to Burgers, Shakes, and Fries!
Afterwards we headed out over a sketchy bridge and through some back alley marketplaces to get over to the Nile, where we successfully bartered with a felucca guy to take us out for an hour for 40 pounds total (about $2 for each of us).
After the felucca ride we hopped on the subway back to the bottom of Gezira (our island), and walked north through a nice park along the river. Here are some pictures of the Lion Bridge from that park.