Jeffrey Black | Middle East Diaries


Kofta & Robot Cats: Cairo, 29th February 2008
February 29, 2008, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Egypt

Abu Shady is a restaurant on Fahmy Street, near Falaki Square. It’s little more than a street-stand, but it serves marinated chicken and kofta to beat the band. Presentation leaves a little to be desired though: it’s a fingers-only affair, and you have to sit on broken plastic stools under a dusty old tree, facing the entrance of a crumbling parking garaj. But the food is good, and the place is well patronised, so there is quite a retinue of mangy neighbourhood cats in attendance, waiting for the plentiful detritus to hit the floor. I had six moggies patiently arranged around my left leg, which turned into an angry melee of competing scab and fur the minute a wishbone came their way. But, the Prophet was kind to cats, so Cairo is kind to them too. The wildlife has a tendency, I expect, to dominate the dinner conversation, or at least it did at my table. One of my fellow diners took the opportunity to inform us that the Israeli military now uses specially developed robot cats to spy on Hamas in Gaza, gleaning (literally) street-level information that can be employed in targeted airstrikes. “They look just like real cats,” he said, “just a little weird.”

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