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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Le Figaro: Zamalek Beauty Salon Stuck in Time Warp
If there is one shopping centre in Zamalek that is often neglected it’s the Degla shopping centre on Hassan Sabry Street. Many people are completely unaware of the existence of the centre and when you arrive there the entire place is often empty. Le Figaro is the one hairdresser located in the shopping mall. You can find it on the second floor tucked away in the corner close to Ghazl El Banat.
The interior of Le Figaro is so outdated it’s retro; the 70’s prevail. However, everything looks very clean and well taken care of. There are fresh flowers on the counter so you can’t say they aren’t trying to make something out of it. It’s best not to look at the pictures of brides on the wall above the cash register. The brides featured in these pictures are probably already celebrating their 25th anniversary and so are their haircuts. Most of the products on display are L’Oreal and Chi which are of course known to be very good brands for hair products.
We decided to go for a wash and blow-dry (80LE) and a manicure (35LE). The best thing is that we had both done at the same time which is a huge time saver. It did mean, however, that our manicure lady got blown away by the hair dryer every once in a while, but she seemed able to cope with that. After having our hair washed we took place on one of the seats and let the hairdresser do his thing. The only instruction he was given was: volume. The manicure started off well but the end result wasn’t too pleasing. Instead of making the nails pink or leaving them clear, they were covered with light white polish. This would have been ok had she applied just one layer instead of two and if the nail polish wasn’t expired. Unfortunately we see a lot of old nail polish being used around town, resulting in ugly, unevenly polished and messy nails.
Our blow dry fared well but just like the interior it was 70’s inspired. Though we don’t mind looking like Farrah Fawcett every once in a while, it wouldn’t hurt the stylist to keep up with trends. However, we woke up the next morning with our hair still looking good. The hairdresser advised regular hair masks; he isn’t just there to make you look good but he takes care of your hair too.
Though we were satisfied with the blow dry, 80LE is a bit on the expensive side and we hope Le Figaro will use that money to invest in new nail polish.
At the start of every summer, Cairenes all over the city invariably descend on Cairo’s gyms and fitness centres in search of that perfect beach-body; it can be difficult to find a quality workout space without having to wait in queue to use your favourite machine. But as we come to the end of summer, gym attendances decrease, giving space for those casual exercisers room to breathe.
Located near Giza Square, World Gym sits on Hemdan Street as one of the older and more established gyms in the Giza area. Having opened in 2001, the gym has undergone several facelifts to keep up with the newer, flashier gyms popping up all across the city.
One such facelift has seen a large red sign mark the location of the gym – it’s impossible to miss. Taking the steps up to the gym, you’ll first find a reception area that houses a receptionist’s desk and three metal couches. Every part of the gym is accessible from here; the main workout area as well as both the male and female changing rooms.
The changing rooms are also home to the gym’s saunas and Jacuzzis. The main area workout area takes the form of a large, almost circular space with separate sections marked out. The ‘Fitness’ section brings together treadmills and exercise bikes, among other things. The other half of the space is dedicated to body-building, and houses a whole host of weights. It also emanates grunting and shouting.
Most of the machinery is pretty modern, but you’ll have to be open to the possibility of cleaning a machine yourself after someone else has used it, and you’re required to bring your own towels.
Membership costs are as follows: 400LE for one month with one free one-day pass for family or friends; 1000LE for three months with three day-passes; 1700LE for six months with five day-passes; and finally, a one year membership will set you back 2800LE, with eight day-passes included. All the membership plans afford gym-goers access to the sauna and Jacuzzi, as well as sessions with the gym staff.
Speaking of which, said staff are, to say the least, effective. At the time of our visit, one particular trainer channelled his inner army general for a group abs session. But on the whole, the trainers are very welcoming and will tailor a personal workout plan based on your goals.
When all is said and done, the biggest attraction of World Gym are its reasonable prices, especially compared to other gym chains found across Cairo.