Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Real Cairo

Last night I watched a short documentary all about the life of a man who walks around the city of Cairo with a huge canister of juice on his back. The program showed you making the juice and adding the massive chunks of ice to it to keep in cool in the sun. He plays 2 large brass plates like cygat to announce his arrival and walks for miles and miles every day. Seemingly the juice is the most refreshing drink you can have and therefore very popular in the hot summer. They were talking about the heritage of Egyptian culture and how people still live this 'old' lifestyle and that there are great benefits to it (eg he is a very fit man!) It wasn't the most interesting of things to watch- but I was trying to test my Arabic and see how much I understood!

Then just now… while I was sitting here at the computer- I heard those same plates……. Ok- so it wasn't him exactly- but walking around my streets are the real people of Cairo.
The juice man,
the ironing shops,
the small time grocers with 3 or 4 things in their shops,
the foul (fool) stand on the corner,
the butchers with huge chunks of animal hanging from scary looking hooks in the ceiling,
coming home to find the bowab has slaughtered something large on the doorstep,
an old man wandering round the streets selling huge bunches of fresh mint,
another with a bicycle with a huge basket at the front collecting large bits of rubbish- scrap metal and plastic- which I presume then gets recycled,
the women with their horrible patterned, old looking 'galabeyas' and 'ship ship' (slippers) but with huge gold earrings dangling from their ears.
Being able to walk for over half an hour with not one single comment (plenty of looks of course but no one saying anything).

This is more as I thought living in Cairo would be like. I wish I was more confident with the language- but I suspect that living here and shopping in these small shops- I'm going to get much better- much quicker!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful picture you paint! It sounds like a great place to be living to improve your Arabic and get a feel for a different aspect of the city!

Lorna (aka BellyLorna!) said...

I do still love my new flat.... although the delivery vans for the bakery opposite get a little irritating with there 'reversing tunes' esp twinkle twinkle little star, and happy birthday.