#SundayAnecdotes: Once Upon A Time in Zamalek

by Youssef El Ganaini | May 7, 2017

As I mentioned in my articles before, we monkeys believe creativity stretches in every part of our lives. For this reason, I decided to discover a new aspect of creativity: History. To make it relevant, I asked a lady, Mrs. Sohailah El-Sawy, who experienced the Golden Decades of the 20st Century in Egypt, to tell us monkeys a story about one of the historic districts in Egypt that experienced – in her opinion – decline in the last times: The Great District of Zamalek. Her beautiful storytelling made me share this beautiful anecdote with you:

Once upon a time, French was an important language of shopping in Egypt. We were a diverse community, of many different origins. French was somehow the most appropriate choice for communication.
Shopkeepers and employees were referred to as Monsieur and Mademoiselle.
Shopping was enjoyable, and a pleasant social occasion.
Especially in Zamalek, where everybody knew everybody.
Maison C├ęcile, a little household shop on Shagaret el Dor street, was a favourite place. It was situated where one of the Ibyari shops is now. The owner, Monsieur Jaque was always there to welcome his visitors.
Sometimes one would come out of his shop with just one item. Possibly with only a feather duster in hand, which was before the plastic inventions!
But the fun part would be the must-have conversations. Exchanging news, holding forth on different subjects, and sharing amusing anecdotes.
Not forgetting useful home caring advice.
Having previously worked at the prestigious and quite famous Gattegno Department store in Downtown Cairo, Monsieur Jaque had the ideal credentials.
What do I miss about those bygone days?
I miss the civility, the professionalism.
I miss the ease and smoothness of getting things done.
I miss the lack of irritants.
I remember smiling faces.
I don’t remember noise.

Soon, I’ll be posting more anecdotes to complete this series of beautiful storytelling.
Even my monkey tribe is waiting for this. Stay tuned!