Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If Only

Looking beyond the irritable flea and mosquito bites that are on every part of my body, the roaches as big as my face, and the general air of stinkiness, I like it in Egypt. People here are open with you. If they're angry, you'll know it. It's kind of entertaining actually when you see men getting out of their cars to argue with one another on who's right-of-way it was.

Or you know, weddings in the street with full out bands, blocking traffic. Or bearded men on motorcycles, with their niqabi wives and sometimes babies riding behind them (this entertains me to no end). There's the walking on the shore of the sea every day and watching the sun set. Everybody will talk to anybody.

Then there's the hearing the adhan 5 times a day, or more, and seeing people flock to the mosque, or pray in the streets because there isn't enough space in the mosque. And sometimes you'll find shops that close during prayer, and a sign on the door that says "we're praying." On Saturdays we attend this halaqa at the mosque for women, and there are always more than 100 women there, probably around 150 who come to listen each time. Makes me wonder about the sad halaqas I've been to in Toronto with a 4-people attendance.

My 7 year old cousin, who wears hijab now was telling me that her parents didn't want her to wear it yet. She's like, "I had to cry and scream so that they'd let me wear it." So I asked her why she wanted to wear it at all, and she replied "because it's summer, so it's going to be hot and I'll get more rewards because of the heat." There's being with your extended family and how it gives you more of a sense of identity and heritage.

This is likely why I find Egypt to be a place that's full of a culture that is so far from being indvidualistic. You can probably make this conclusion about every "back home," not only Egypt. So yes, if you look beyond the fact that you may not have hot running water, or that blackouts happen more often than you'd like, there is an enchanting quality to being among your peers, and when you've always wondered why you were a certain way, you find out.

And yet, I miss Toronto. I miss my university, Hart House Jummahs. I miss the subway, I miss MULTICULTURAL FOOD (esp somalian and Indian)!! I miss my buddies. If only, yes if only I could transport all of those things to here, I would be happy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Tactless Nation

Check out this picture. This was a huge ad in a really upscale mall that I went to. Egyptians don't know what tact means, it's hilarious. Simiarly, this is a video of some dude calling out "Bikya." He basically rides around yelling this, and he means for people to come sell him their old stuff like pots and pans, then he sells it after he fixes it up.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Egyptian Hospitality

Egyptians and food, ahh well what can I say? It's really a great wonder that Egyptians are not an obese nation. You might find a small handful of relatively fat men and women, but I have yet to see an actual obese person. Egyptians love food.

When you go over to someone's house for dinner (which by the way is around 4pm here), you should basically make sure you've starved yourself for the previous two days, or else you'll likely die of being overstuffed. We were at my mom's friend's place, and she kept putting food on our plate, despite our pained cries that we were full. Egyptians get offended when you don't eat a lot. I'm sorry, they get offended even if you do eat a lot, but aren't writhing on the floor in pain. I know we're supposed to honour our guests, but this is taking it to a whole new level...

Needless to say, I got sick after the visit, and am still getting over it.

In other news, so far I've seen a fist fight in the street, and a fire in our apartment (Alhamdulillah none of us were hurt). Also, I saw this shirt that said "your boyfriend thinks I'm hot." I did a double take at this point, like uhhh what? Are you serious? But when I came closer to the shirt, lo and behold, it actually said "your boyerend thinks I'm hot."

Nice.

Monday, July 02, 2007