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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Captain El Malah: Horrendous Pet Shop in Zamalek
The first thing that you notice as you enter the shabby makeshift shop is the taxidermy at the entrance. Two stuffed foxes guard both sides leading into this dingy place; a horrible and foreboding omen.
The shop itself looks like it was thrown together overnight. The walls are lined with tent-like sheets, while cages and shelves are thrown across the property randomly, carrying a variety of animals, including pedigree puppies, chameleons, kittens (starting at 400LE), guinea pigs, rabbits and goldfish (starting at 15LE).
The owner, presumably El Malah says that collecting animals was a hobby of his, and that recently he’s decided to share his collection and help people in acquiring strange pets.
El Malah will rush around the shop, showcasing all of the animals that you ask to see while his personal pug Bo’loz trails behind him. He seemed to know how to deal with animals, disinfecting his hands after handling each animal to make sure not to transfer anything. Still, he still doesn’t seem to treat animals with much respect. Other than the paltry conditions of the shop, some animals spotted here are definitely not meant to be domesticated!
The animals found here include the ordinary and the strange, all kept in deplorable and horribly filthy cages. A line of cages near the entrance is stacked on top of each other filled with kittens and a puppy with barely enough space to move.
Other creatures found here include a pelican (3000LE) – which is kept somewhere in the back and let out for your viewing pleasure – a variety of snakes that have been horribly subdued, an alligator, hedgehogs kept in a fishbowl, hawks, eagles and even a monkey in a depressing little cell (3500LE).
We highly doubt that this shop has a license to sell these animals, and we seriously question how these exotic animals were brought into Cairo in the first place! Can you imagine driving around the city with a monkey or a hawk in the backseat?!
We hope that some animal rights activists will take note of this shop and give the owners a piece of their mind. If you’ve got someone who can help, have them take a look at Captin El Malah. If not, you may feel inclined to buy one of these animals just to save them from this miserable hole.
Among the things that Cairo seems to have in excess are the shops where you can find a mishmash of random-yet- handy products; be it home accessories, stationery or even gadgets. While many of them have the advantage of humble prices, the offered products are either of questionable quality, or lacking in taste design wise.
With the belief that design and quality are equally important, Invotis was established in 1995 in Holland as a design company selling its products online, before it opened many branches worldwide, including here in Egypt, where we checked out the Americana Plaza branch.
Mainly dependant on the eye-catching products it has, the shop’s setting is minimal and clean-cut with white tables and shelves. Painted in white as well were the walls, on which a number of clocks varying in shape and size were hung. Transparent but for its black centre and rim, we found a minimalistic, medium-sized round clock, which would fit in any modern setting (300LE). Of the same shape was a smaller one that had a black and white photograph of a pug puppy (100-LE) imprinted on its face; although some may find it cute, for us it was just corny. Moving to a less safe option, we found a quirky time piece that can add uniqueness to your kitchen; a relatively small clock, whose face is the body of a tin can, and has a hand whisk for a pendulum.
Not as quirky, yet functional, were a number of wall-mounted, multi frames that can be useful for those who like to keep their memories before their eyes. Made of MDF or metal, the frames were all simple in design; one of them consisted of 12 separate metal frames attached to each other to give an abstract shape (520LE), and another made of MDF that can take 9 Photos of different sizes within the rectangular-shaped frame (630LE). Although we liked the idea of the multi frames, those prices made saving memories in one’s heart a better option.
Still browsing through home accessories, we found a white candle holder with the shape of a giraffe’s torso, with a place for the candle where the head is (39LE). In the same corner with the price of 49LE was a glow-in-the-dark model of a melted candle placed on a vintage candle plate. While we found the first of actual function -in addition to being cleverly designed- we thought the latter was rather useless if the lights are out, despite being an interesting-looking piece.
Among other intriguing products was a door stopper that has the shape of a gold ingot (290LE), a piece which we considered the jackpot of the shop; it’s both functional and attention grabbing.
Besides having a variety of home accessories, Invotis boasts a wide range of stationery items like pens, backpacks and even laptop skins. From the latter, we found a number of 15’ laptop skins (28LE each), including pictures of human upper torsos dressed in a bikini top or a tux. Though funny, we don’t recommend going to a meeting with any of them.
All in all, whether you are looking for a unique piece to liven up your space or an unorthodox gift for someone special, we totally recommend paying a visit to Invotis. And even if you happen to come across the shop, walk in and take a look, and you will be equally impressed.