My kind of clubbing in Cairo is sportive. Difficult to do anything sportive without entering a club here. What I do to get some running in is go to the Gezirah sporting club, which is the largest bit of open green space in the centre, on the island of Zamalek. The club is divided into two parts, the Northern posh part, and the Southern, well what should I call that one, less posh probably. Working class would be overdoing it, club membership is not for the poor, so we must be talking the strata below the elite. Club memberships are inaccessible to foreigners unless you are willing and able to pay amounts that identify you as expat elite. Just a day pass for the Gezirah posh part is more than 10 euro. So what does a miser like me do? He runs to the entrance of the normal people’s part, pays half a euro for the entry, does his circuits on the sandy foot path lining the horse race track, throws in a couple of fast laps on the athletics track, ignores the rubbish floating around, and enjoys the crowds playing football, volleyball, hockey, boxing, running, or just wandering about in the illusion of fresh air.
I then run into the posh part to get to the Northern exit, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the elite, sometimes buying myself an espresso, a salad or a cookie and stealing some illegal time on one of the shady terraces surrounding the many sports facilities.
The Southern part has many veiled women, bearded men and gritty looking groundsmen. The posh part has no veils, not even head scarves, lots of old aristocracy and young beautiful people, dressed to kill, and properly uniformed guards, waiters and other members of staff.
I’m an ignoramus as far as the sociology of Egypt’s political fault lines goes, but it certainly feels as if sneaking into the posh part is making my way from new (Brotherhood) to the old regime. It’s undoubtedly a partial overlap only, that of class and ideology, but I must admit that the impression is strong.
Let’s conclude with some ideological clubbing to live up to this post’s title.