Wall St surges for second day on strong GDP data    Egypt bans rice exports as of Sept. 1    Libya dialogue restarts without Tripoli representatives    Balotelli completes loan move to Milan from Liverpool    Swimming: China, Japan, Turkey and Qatar left in race to host world championships    Virginia killings: Shooter Flanagan 'a human powder keg'    Sisi attends China's WWII victory parade, 81 Egyptian personnel take part    Abbas heats up Palestinian politics in PLO reshuffle bid    Egypt extends high-moisture wheat exemption for one year    Egypt election committee to announce date for parliamentary poll Sunday    China market chaos blamed on exodus of regulatory 'turtles'    Islamic State takes new ground near Turkish border    Euro zone lending growth accelerates in July    Jordan, Egypt discuss economic cooperation    Tunisian Habiba Ghribi snatches silver medal in the 3000m steeplechase    For marijuana and the brain, questions remain    Lebanon's Hezbollah, Christian allies to boycott govt meeting    Gunmen kill 2 policemen in Egypt's restive northern Sinai    Egyptian government cannot halt Semenkha statue sale: Antiquities minister    Proverb of the day: Your son will be as you raise him and your husband will be as you train him ابنك على ما تربيه وجوزك على ما تعوديه    87 NGOs to observe Egypt's parliamentary polls    Grand Egyptian Museum to be managed internationally: Antiquities minister    Warner Brothers in talks to make movies in China    Death boats, cuts, tear gas mark path for migrants to Europe    Egypt's Al-Tahrir newspaper suffers financial crisis, closure expected    Policemen in Egypt's Sharqiya call off sit-in    Russia orders Wikipedia page blocked over cannabis link    Islamic State claims 30 killed for sodomy, UN meeting told    Lebanon protest postponed after Beirut clashes, organisers say    10-year prison term for one, five acquitted in a Port Said Stadium massacre retrial    Lebanon protests against Beirut government over rubbish dispute    Double happiness as panda gives birth to twins in U.S. hours apart    Iranians begin hajj amid tensions with Saudi    Barca and Real set for La Liga start    Surviving the summer heat    Al-Assad's fate    Careful choices    Digest    The moral bankruptcy of Italy and NATO    Khalta rice    Where is the tomb of Nefertiti?    Future woman    Climate emergencies and oil wars    Wake up, Brotherhood youth    No losers in this championship    Child's play    MUSIC AND DANCE    Expert with new theory on Nefertiti's tomb invited to Egypt    







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Two tales of a city
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 04 - 09 - 2012

It was due to a bad piece of advice that I saw the other side of the coastal city of Alexandria, known as Egypt's second capital.
In the absence of signs on the road, I had to ask a local pedestrian for directions to Al-Mamura, where I planned to spend some relaxing days by the sea.
The pedestrian said in a very sincere tone of voice that it would be better to drive right through the centre of Al-Mamura instead of using the Corniche.
“The Corniche is usually busy at this time of the day," he warned me in a solemn, convincing manner.
No sooner had the man disappeared from view, them we – myself and the other passengers in the car – realised we'd been, literally, taken for a ride.
For more than an hour, the driver had to thread his way across haphazardly constructed speed bumps and negotiate gaping manholes.
It happened more than once that we reached the end of a road only to find it closed for maintenance, without prior warning. We had to do several huge detours, with the driver steering his way cautiously as if he were sailing on rough seas.
Like Cairo, several areas of the outskirts of Alex were piled high with garbage. And, even in those places were there were rubbish skips, they were far too small to cope with the mountains of trash, overflowing in every direction.
Alexandria is traditionally a major holiday attraction for both Egyptians and foreigners. Compared to other seaside resorts, Alexandria is relatively near Cairo and boasts lots to do during the day and a colourful nightlife. It is also famed for its revived Bibliotheca Alexandrina and European-style cafés.
Thus, the city earns a lot from the bustling tourism, mainly in the summer. There is no good reason why the profits are not spent on improving the lives of the city's people and its infrastructure and facilities.
At the entrance to the city, a few yards from a tollgate, our driver had to spend nearly half an hour negotiating his way through a large puddle caused by a fractured pipeline. No local or government official there seems to care a fig about safety of motorists and pedestrians.
In stark contrast, Al-Mamura, if you can actually get there, is blissful. Neatly dressed, immaculately clean workers diligently keep the resort spotless.
To my delight, I didn't see a single fly, mosquito or other insect, a fact testifying to the efforts of these workers and their supervisors.
The leafy district is also distinguished from other resorts by its well-preserved, four-storey buildings, which look as though they are of recent construction. Some of them were run up in the late 1970s.
Al-Mamura is not a resort for the elite or the rich. Its beaches are open to the public for a nominal fee. However, it is the constant attention given to the place and the strict enforcement of rules that make it different.


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