Tag Archives: urban

The Lost City

While shooting with my homie Langston Hues not too long ago, we ventured out to the D. I’ve never actually been to motor city except from one brief stop in Southwest Detroit, dropping my roomie off to her internship, and so it was a completely new environment for me. All this talk about Detroit being shabby, run-down, and horrible? I still prefer the faded beauty of the former superstar over the younger, less wrinkly but mediocre C-actress. That’s why Detroit > Ann Arbor (or other Midwestern small towns) any day. There’s something about a town with history and real, beautiful architecture that makes it superior to any of these modern “villages” with the same brick structures, lawns, chain restaurants, and shopping malls you find just everywhere. Needless to say, I will be visiting again.

Apart from theĀ  interesting locations in these pictures, I’m wearing a really cool bisht/kimono piece from Kuwaiti Susdiva. Check them out – they have some gorgeous pieces in their collection.

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The writing in Arabic here says “Injustice anywhere is the road to justice everywhere,” but since I don’t see that this makes sense, I believe it is a mistranslation of Martin Luther King’s “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Correct me if you are more philosophically inclined than I am (another friend suggested that injustice anywhere may cause us to uprise to spread justice everywhere but I don’t think that necessarily follows).

What I’m wearing: Bubble scarf: H&M, leopard infinity scarf: H&M, bisht/cardigan/kimono: Susdiva, silver and gold sequin tunic: River Island, pleated flowy maxi skirt: Gina Tricot (Norway)

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Flowers and How to Love Cairo

This is sort of neat: one day I wore a flower print jumpsuit, the next day I found and posed with a bush looking pretty much the same as the other day’s print in one of Cairo’s tiny and random public gardens (small reasons for happiness, as you soon will learn). As you all probably know, Cairo is far from the greenest city in the world. Crowded, dusty, and noisy, with packed streets running crisscross between faded behemoths of apartment buildings, it is quite an overwhelming place for many a visitor, and an occasional pain for residents and returning enthusiasts. Still, Cairo remains my favorite city in the world. It is mine. It has soul. I wouldn’t trade it for the beauty of Barcelona, the hipness of Istanbul, nor the relatively organized-ness of gridded US cities like Chicago or New York.

Of course, surviving and coming to love the city is a matter of attitude. To be happy here, you need to adjust your expectations, learn to chill, and adopt a positive outlook. Yes, the city can be an eyesore in broad daylight; learn to appreciate the full potential of its splendor by night – the closer to sunrise the better, as you will have the city almost all to yourself. Cruise across the full extent of an empty 6th of October bridge as the night turns to dawn with some Oum Kalthoum playing in the background to fall in love with the city anew (I did this last Ramadan – traveling from a sohoor gathering in El Dokki after fagr to my place in El Rehab felt almost magical).

Stuck in the infamous Cairo traffic? Observe the various and highly creative forms of non-verbal communication you will not encounter the likes of anywhere else but here. Let your thoughts fly. Read a book. Call a long lost friend. There are many solutions to such a problem. And if you are suffocating from the pollution and noise, you need not look far for an escape. Get on a faluka (boat) from El Maadi (the non-motorized, quiet one) with snack and good friends, enjoy the priceless view and impeccably chill music in Sequoia at the edge of Zamalek overlooking/being surrounded by the Nile, or even better in my opinion (and waaay cheaper), pay five geneih (less than a dollar) to enter Al Azhar park at night (a true oasis in the middle of the city), grab a to-go cup of tea from the outdoor coffee shop, sit on the grassy hill overlooking parts of the city, and talk or reflect while listening to the taraweeh prayers of a hundred mosques (in Ramadan, that is).

 

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Learn to enjoy the simple things you may encounter in the city. Did the taxi driver actually give you the exact change back, including halfs or quarters? What a pleasant surprise! Particularly green gardens in between buildings and cars (like the one above) are to be appreciated. Stores that close at 11 or midnight? Yes, please. Oh, and perhaps the most missed aspect, according to friends who go back and forth or who end up leaving; anything and everything can be delivered to you. At almost any point of the day or night. Groceries, medication, or Mac Donalds at your doorstep? Why, of course. There are a plethora of other small issues to jump with joy over, of course, but I’ll let you discover those on your own (let me know if you already did – what is there to love about Cairo?).

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Scarf: Vida Hijabs (check out their Facebook page here), ethnic patterned kimono cardigan: Zara, leopard print top: Indiska (Norway), maxi skirt: Stradivarius, accessories: ASOS, Ebay.

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Scarf: Ebay, neck scarf: H&M, oversized shirt: Bershka, tropical flower print jumpsuit: Mango, ethnic black and white belt: River Island, accessories: Icing, River Island.

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Oslo Love (Sometimes)

May I start off by saying how much I love this girl seen in the picture below? Sarah used to be my best buddy before I started moving around the world, and I had sort of forgotten how awesomely gorgeous she is. I’m really happy I’ve already gotten to see her twice during my stay here.

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So today was one of those days when Norway was not that bad. In fact, I almost slightly loved Oslo at the end of it. Sunny weather, three ice creams, shopping (seriously, to me shopping in Europe beats shopping in the US any day, even up here in the north), chilling in the park, having a delicious (but tiny) portion of pad thai, and then later, the smell of lilacs as I stepped off the tram in the middle of the city, and an evening walk at sundown through the newly developed waterfront area (it got dark at 10-something PM – chill, right?), all contributed to me feeling a gush of affection for this city that I normally love to hate. Life’s good, hamdlelah.

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Scarf: H&M, studded denim vest: River Island, neon kimono: H&M, dip-back tribal tank: ASOS, acid wash dungarees worn as pants: River Island, bag: Gina Tricot (Norway), studded ankle boots: River Island, accessories: ASOS, Yemen, Ebay

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Hip Hop Ballad

My tiny city has one particular alley filled with graffiti that everybody loves to take photos in front of. My dear friend and excellent photographer/artist Nora Alfaham and I thought we would be no worse, and so here’s the result of her unique talent and my own climbing, crouching, balancing, and squeezing. For more of Nora’s quirky creativity, find her on Instagram (norange31).

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Scarf: Egypt, faux fur: H&M, Asian embroidered varsity jacket: Zara, sequined oversized top: Vero Moda, animal print maxi dress worn as skirt: Gina Tricot (Norway), flatform shoes: H&M, accessories: H&M, Egypt, River Island, Icing.

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