July 26, 2002
The Cairo Tower is a peculiar slender concrete structure that has an elevated viewing platform for tourists. There is a souvenir shop at the ground level that is worth a look; this is seemingly one of the few stores where the sales clerks will actually let you look at the merchandise without swarming around you. The Andalusian Gardens hug the west bank of the Nile and form part of a pleasant promenade. The modern Opera House, designed by Japanese architect Koichiro Shikida, opened in 1988 and serves also as a National Cultural Center.
I ventured into the lightly visited Modern Art Museum, very close to the Opera House. The collection of 20th Century paintings and sculptures is not bad, though not necessarily earthshaking in importance. Labeling some of the genial paintings "modern" is somewhat of a stretch. One of the more active artists in the collection is Said, who displayed his talents in a variety of paintings. It was a bit surprising to see a few female nudes by Said on full public display. Egypt is, after all, still a conservative Muslim society that frowns upon this sort of thing. Perhaps Egypt is getting slightly more westernized every day, for better or for worse.
From journal Bill in Egypt - CAIRO