Fifty years ago I lived in Cairo, enrolled as a student at the American University of Cairo and took these photographs.
The AUC campus was at that time situated in an old pasha’s palace in the downtown Bab al Louq area, just off the famous Tahrir Square. I lived nearby on Shariah El Falaky in the AUC Dorm, a drab lemon-coloured building with high walls that from outside looked rather like a prison.
Outside, the city was a dazzling whirlpool of life, a frenzy of melon seed sellers, garbage pickers and juice dispensers, of young street boys in rags forever asking you the time; of dowdy office clerks staring at shop window displays of shoes. The pungent smell of decaying citrus and human odour pervaded the air. The cries of the street sellers harmonized with the honking of horns and the periodic bray of a street donkey.
Through these streets I prowled with an old Russian Zenit camera, at the time the most affordable SLR, packed with Tri X Film that I kept in the Dorm fridge.
The Khan el Khalili Bazaar is still there, where copper pots are still beaten; Felukas still ply the Nile, and the Boab still pick their noses in Bab el Louk.
But like these pictures, much of the charm I knew has faded.