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Penn & Teller in Cairo, 2003

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Last night stumbled across this video bringing together two of the world's greatest magicians and one of the world's greatest, if seriously troubled, cities.

Penn & Teller went to Egypt in 2003 (the same year I moved there... coincidence?) and the video is filled with street life in Cairo around Tahrir Square and Talat Harb and some of the city's poorer neighborhoods.

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They're ostensibly in search of the descendants of the "gali-gali men," Egyptian street magicians who have largely faded from view, and the roots of the "Cups and Balls," a magic routine practiced across the globe for centuries that may have been first developed in pharaonic Egypt (in a tomb in upper Egypt they examine hieroglyphs that suggest, but don't prove, the trick was well known 4,000 years ago).

I share it because the moments with the few proud, but dirt-poor, street performers they find capture the resilience and incredibly good humor of Egyptians.

Oh yeah - Teller talks (at about 19 minutes in he explains his delight at being fooled by one of the Egyptian magicians they meet). 


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