I’ve been trying to work on character development for the story (I feel funny calling it a novel when its only about 3 pages in) I’m writing. And the main character loves living in Egypt – the story wouldn’t make sense if she didn’t. So I decided to write a list of the things that I love about Cairo/Egypt.
It was not an easy task – in fact it would have been so much easier to do the opposite. It has taken me pretty much ten years to get used to living here and I hope that isn’t as whiny and pathetic as it sounds. This little exercise has just made me realise how complacent and apathetic I’ve become. There are few things that I love about living here, and yet I stay.
So anyway, after much thought I managed to come up with a short list of the things I love about this country, or in the very least, the things that amuse me:
1. How cosmopolitan Cairo really is, and how most people don’t realise it unless they’ve lived here. (It’s like we’re in on this huge secret.)
2. That a person can have a filling meal, with food left over, with just $1.
4. The sheer madness of all the contradictions filling the city: a woman covered from head to toe standing in front of a shop display of the skimpiest lingerie imaginable (some of which light up and play music apparently), a Porsche cayenne parked in a street, with a donkey-pulled cart going by.
5. The audacity and egoism of the people who still say that Egypt is the “Mother of the World,” despite the fact that the last time this nation was an empire to be reckoned with was at least a few thousand years ago.
6. The fact that you can get just about anything fixed.
7. As clichéd as it may sound – the Nile. And taking a felucca (little sailboats for those of you who aren’t in the know) down the Nile, from the Sheraton at ‘Am Dok Dok’s. And since we’re being clichéd, I might as well go for broke: the Pyramids. I am still filled with awe each time I drive past them.
8. The man on October 6 Bridge who was going from car to car one afternoon, telling jokes for your change.
9. The beaches.
10. The smell of ground coffee that wafts up to my seventh floor window, from the small shop down the street, where they sell heaven in little bags.
11. The ability to have anything and everything delivered to your doorstep.
12. Again it might sound clichéd – but how good-natured the majority of the people in this city are. There’s something about Egyptians: you can see it in their sense of humour, in their ability to brush off little accidents in the street (most of the time), their (over)eagerness to help a complete stranger in need, in their use of expressions like ma’alesh for which I can’t even think of the English equivalent, and just how laid back they can be.
13. How safe this city really is.
14. The ability to take anything and everything and pirate it, paint it on the walls or slap it on a poster (Brooke Shields is the poster-girl for coloured contact lenses in Cairo, Alicia Silverstone is the face of a clothing store in downtown Cairo called ‘Ebtisam’ and Google has their very own internet cafe somewhere in the city.)
So yes – I have found – in the space of one hour – 14 things that I love about Egypt. And for my own personal peace of mind – everyday I will try to find more.
Song of the Moment
Eyes by Rogue Wavehttp://www.mediafire.com/?a0fjrra8gj2
Quote of the Moment
Clementine: This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.
Joel: I know.
Clementine: What do we do?
Joel: Enjoy it.
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Poem of the Moment
Fantasia by Eve Merriam
to a child
who will ask,
Technorati: Eve Merriam