For love of country

Posted on November 10, 2006


There’s been talk lately of me having become bitter and angry recently, especially as I appear on this blog. But it’s not true…I just like to express myself strongly. Apart from that latest atrocity during Eid, and the occasional Ramadan-related annoyance, the whole move to Egypt has really been great. Here’s a list of things I love about here:

  1. My friends. They’re interesting and funny and warm(ish) and we call and email approximately every 2.3 minutes. And then we go out. This would not have been the case had I stayed in Canada, I’m sure. In fact, most people here have an excellent social life.
  2. My extended family – my mother’s side are seriously a laugh riot. I mean falling-off-chairs funny.
  3. My boyfriend lives here and we’re able to spend a lot of time together and have some privacy. He is also alarmingly perfect. He likes Egypt too.
  4. My job is mildly interesting (all anyone can really expect) and pays me well, plus the hours are far better than I would have anywhere else. I like all my coworkers, but my officemate in particular is a cool woman and we get on well, and have become really close. She picks me up in the morning.
  5. The weather is pretty good, and you know how I feel about weather!
  6. The prices of most things are excellent. It is utterly possible to have a shisha and tea here for well under $1.
  7. Everything delivers, all the time. I never have to do anything for myself.
  8. My parents don’t live here.
  9. When I want to get anywhere, I can hail a taxi from anyplace for a fairly reasonable price, and do not have to walk anywhere ever, nor drive.
  10. There are a lot of restaurants I like here, and other hang-outs. They are all unique in their own way. Being ankle-deep in sewage has its positive side.
  11. Shoes are cheap, however dodgy the quality.
  12. I meet cool new people quite often, and they don’t seem too disconcerted by my complete lack of social skills.
  13. It is possible to get away from Cairo and seek the sun practically all year round, and without selling a kidney to pay for it.
  14. There’s always something to see and do and go to. Lectures, live music, plays…
  15. Anytime I get sick of 20th century Cairo, I can submerge myself into 10th-19th century Cairo. Or if I’m really really sick, 7000 years ago does nicely. I will never run out of pockets of history to see. Just recently I saw the very spot where Moses carved out the Tablets, and passed the site of the Burning Bush (allegedly). I was too grumpy and exhausted to note much about anything having climbed a mountain ALL NIGHT (except for a stint atop a camel), but I was there all the same.
  16. On a related point, I love that Cairo is home to the world’s oldest university in the world, Al Azhar Al Sharif (988 AD). Sure, I’m not allowed to attend it, but I like knowing it is in my hometown.

People have also been complaining about my posts getting more “serious” and “political”. Well, there’s a lot more to write about in that vein here than there was in Canada. No shit. But also there’s no getting away from that feeling that I have to “represent”. I have noted that there appear to be flocks of people who basically prowl the internet for blogs about how much living in a Muslim country sucks. Whenever I write a post remotely critical of Egypt interest perks up enormously from abroad and people froth at the mouth so vigorously in their comments my keyboard gets wet. But whenever I write something about fun I’ve had here or things I enjoy, you could hear a cyberpin drop. No one pops up to say “Huh, things sound pretty good over there…guess you’re not really as oppressed as I thought.” I like to depict things the way I see them, and life isn’t monochrome here or anywhere(or insert clichéd expression here). If you’re reading this “to get a picture of life in the Middle East”, I would appreciate a little more objectivity here, people. Not that you can get much of a “typical” picture from anyone with access to the internet, nay, who can read and write (in English!).

That was an odiously serious paragraph, actually, and I’m sorry. I’ll probably come in with wittier wording later. Back to normal soon.

Posted in: Egypt, stupidity