Friday, September 28, 2012

Looking for the Bookstore

Egyptian Museum, Cairo by ibischild
Egyptian Museum, Cairo, a photo by ibischild on Flickr. 
I walked along this side of the building many times, in the belief that this was the way through Tahrir Square to the American University Bookstore. As you know, it is the way to Tahrir Square. But the bookstore?...

Being obstinate, my two new guest-house friends and I made another trip to Tahrir Square. [You can read about our first Tahrir-Square trip here.]  Once again we shlepped on foot over the bridge, with vehicles zooming by, and along past the Egyptian Museum, somehow surviving the July heat and humidity. They were looking for the American University Library, and I was looking for the American University Bookstore. Both institutions are supposed to be in a street (though probably not the same street) somewhere just off Tahrir Square.

After a sweaty trek around the Square, we explored various side streets, following the advice of various kind people who tried to point us in the right direction. Finally, we asked directions of a couple of policemen, who kindly led us to a shabby-looking once-genteel building, with a sign declaring it to be the home of the American University's rare book collection. The policemen said the building would be open on Thursday. But it looked as if that specialized library, too, had long ago moved to the new campus on the hot northeastern edge of town. So, after a refreshing stop in an air-conditioned cafe, we shared a taxi back to our guest house. Thwarted a second time.

Not to be defeated, on another day I took at taxi to Tahrir Square. Forget those folks from the guest house, I thought. Surely the taxi driver will know the location of the American University Bookstore. (And I was sick of walking, a mile or more each way, on hard baking sidewalks!)

The taxi driver took me to the intersection where the bookstore should have been, he thought. But it wasn't there. Various pedestrians and policemen tried to help me, pointing me in various directions. No sign of a bookstore anywhere.

So please don't go to Tahrir Square looking for anything connected to American University in Cairo. There is one precinct that may contain some University offices or something like that. Otherwise, it's all moved out to the new campus beyond the ring road, I believe. [Please tell me if I'm wrong!]

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