Archive for April, 2011

Back in Cairo: Top Things Said and Overheard

Posted on: April 3rd, 2011 | No Comments

Back in Cairo and enjoying coming out of the desert.  British officers and civil servants would traditionally flock to Shepheard Hotel on the Nile.  Like many other places on this trip, this was once a romantic place which has supplied folk legend.  Unfortunately, it was burned down in the last revolution in 1952 but it still has its charms.  Returning on an exhausting drive from Tobruk (a straight-line distance of 460 miles), I sat down for a bite and made notes of things I’d heard over the last few weeks:       

  1. While walking near several Western embassies: “Can I walk through there?” pointing toward a small opening next to two tanks, a squad of soldiers and a pile of sandbags, “Of course, you have two legs!”
  2. While in a café: “[Hosni] Mubarak was like Ali Baba!”
  3. While talking to a confused tourist: “I thought my tour was going to the Red Sea but it turns out we’re going to the Dead Sea.”  
  4. While walking across a bridge over the Nile: “Excuse me but you walk like an Egyptian” (I doubt he understood the humor in this)
  5. While in an insanely fast taxi on the way back from Libya: “Don’t worry so much…if there’s an accident now, you’ll die a martyr’s death.”
  6. Everywhere in Cairo: “the revolution is not finished, that was just the start.”

I heard a lot of interesting things in Libya as well but they tended to focus on a few familiar themes: happiness (“Now we are free!”), exacerbation (“F— Gaddafi”) and gratitude (“Thank you USA, France, UK and NATO”).