Friday, May 08, 2009

Egypt list

I like lists. This is a list of random Egyptian facts and/or stuff that has happened to me:

1. People can somehow always tell I’m not really Egyptian right when I open my mouth. Apparently I have a very obvious accent. People ask me where I’m from, and I always indignantly say “ana masriya” and walk away. The thing that makes me wonder though, is that in Canada, I’m Egyptian. In Egypt I’m Canadian. Talk about the fluidity of identity.

2. A taxi driver offered me his son’s hand in marriage.

3. I started reading Malcolm X’s autobiography in a taxi (the same taxi where a marriage proposal was made. I had to look busy). Brilliant book thus far, and that’s not surprising.

4. I prayed Jumu’ah at this mosque that’s nearly on the seashore. And we prayed outside because there was no space left in the mosque. Have you ever prayed with so many other Muslims while in the presence of the sea’s breeze? It’s something else. During Jumu’ah, lots of stores are closed (some aren’t, naturally), and the streets are unusually empty. There are merchants that set up their stalls on the street outside the mosque, and right when the imam finishes the prayer, you can hear them all begin shouting in unison and promoting their sale items.

5. Insects: today I got my first flea bites. I’ve kind of been waiting for them, it’s some kind of rite of passage for me. I probably contracted them yesterday when we were walking through this market that sells chickens and rabbits. And I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes in the first few days I was here. My face was literally swollen – I got bitten several times on my nose, forehead, cheek, and my eyelid. Bloodthirsty wretches.

6. As I’m typing this, I’m hearing asr’s overlapping adhans from two or three mosques in the vicinity.

7. A falafel sandwich here costs one pound. That’s the equivalent of...about 22 cents.

And for the naysayers who always assume travelling to Egypt = getting married, my ring finger is still bare. Although the taxi driver’s son seemed like a fair prospect. Hmm.

Twelve more days here, then I come home inshaAllah.


Abdul said...

so how did the conversation with the proposal went? did you stay silent or answer back? ...just curious

hope ur doing better :-)

Rizwan said...

You're finally reading the Autobiography? Tell me when you get to "Satan"!

You know, I'm wondering if there would be interest in having a seminar to do a close reading of the Autobiography in the light of classical Islamic philosophy.

Do you think there would be interest to have something like that at UToronto?

Asmaa said...

Abdul, nah I'm the kind of person who will ignore awkward comments and just look away. In situations like those, I think that's the better route.

Rizwan, I read it and it was awesome. And also, that idea sounds pretty interesting. You should propose it to the MSA.