the cairene experience

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Village Attitude

Scene 1: The Village of Cairo
A car stops in the middle of the street, with a queue of cars behind blowing their horn in vain. The driver waves to a porter who is sitting on a wooden half broken couch in front of a building sipping his tea with his fellow porter from the building next door

The driver yelling from his car : salamo 3aleko ya 7ag
The porter still sitting on his couch: we3lakom el salam we ra7met el lah we barakatoh
The driver still yelling from his car: Share3 Abed El Hamid Bayomi
The porter stands up and approaches the car half way: 3ayez eih belzabet henak
The driver yelling less: nemra 51
The porter approaches more : 3ayiez mien henak
The driver : ma7ael malbes
The porter : alakek fien belzabet
The driver looks to his paper : ganeb aghzakhana
The porter : la’a da mosh henna khales, da afel el ma7al dah mien fatra .. bas fie ma3ael tani henak .. enta lazem telef we terga3 tani .. takhoed awel yemin fie tani shemal ….. blabla bla

The cars still blowing their horns and I can’t help it but hear Salah Jahin ‘s El Liela El Kebier in my ears where the aragoes explains to the 3omeda how to get to a place “we tekhoesh mien matra7 matle3et we lama teilaa ma2let lieb te3raef enak tohet we die3t”

Scene 2: Any village

A man on a donkey, stops and gets off his donkey. The man waves to another farmer whose sitting in the field on the ground sipping his tea with his fellow farmer.

The man on the donkey yelling: salamo 3aleko ya 7ag
The framer still sitting on the ground: we3lakom el salem we ra7met el lah we barkaeto ..etfadel
The man on the donkey approaches the 2 farmers: yezied fadlak … ana mosh men el nawa7iedy we ased biet Abo Ahmed el Melegy
The framers on the ground : da haeg howa we game3to mien modeh .. bieo2lo ra7 Masr … bas momken teasal 3alieh fi biet nasaibou ganb el ter3eh ……. Blabla bla

The scenes are many in Cairo streets and they are almost the same situations in the "village of cairo" as in any village, and same people if you come to think about it … the only difference is the setup and the props …. it’s all about expectations

Thursday, July 06, 2006

On how to live a stress free life in Cairo…
*Give away your watch or wear it for a different purpose other than knowing the time. You can always use the sun or prayer times like “al 3aseria” or “al maghrebia” or simply “ba3ed el doher”, to give someone an appointment
*Be friendly and expect anyone to pass by or call you at anytime of the day. It must be important or that he just felt like seeing you
*Never refuse to give someone your mobile number or even worse not to answer if he/ she calls or even switch off your mobile. That’s considered rude!
*No need to wake up early in the morning as you will accomplish nothing anyways and also nobody wakes up early unless they have an exam or catching a flight or bus and of course milk sellers, “ baya3ien el laban”
*Always understand other people’s personal misfortunes like the death of “merat 3am abouia” or “gedet bent khali”. That applies also to business transactions
*You have to believe that “el rezk byed el lah”, therefore don’t bother to do your best in anything because in any case “ma7edesh bienam men ghier 3asha” and “rabenna byorsok el nemala fi baten el gabal”
*Don’t try to prefect anything or try to do anything right because “el kamal lelah wa7doh” and no matter what you do it will still not look perfect
*Don’t be anal and pay attention to details, what’s the difference a box will always be a box , a carpet will always be a carpet and so on
*The most important thing in life is food. If you can afford to eat well and feed your family, you are a responsible human being “we 3adak el 3ieb”
*Care about your neighbors or even about any passer by, by knowing where they are going, who they are seeing and even how much they are spending
*Never admit that you’re wrong nor accuse anyone of being wrong that’s against the law! Also never say that you don’t know, that’s makes you a less human being
*Unlike anything you have learnt in geometry or algebra the shortest way to any place is a circle and not a straight line. So don’t even bother to make a line infront of a cashier or drive in the same lane. Also note that you would be considered anal and sometimes stupid if you insist on doing that
*Always blame the government, they are not doing their job and most importantly they don’t care about what you say so why not blame them, at least you vent!
*Don’t try to make sense of anything that anyone tells you or even of what you tell yourself. Sometimes things are supposed to be that way and its “7aram” to question them
*And most importantly ... don’t exert yourself doing anything useful in this life. It’s enough to victimize yourself and that will pave your way straight to heaven after your death.

Have a nice, long life and may allah be with us J

Friday, April 28, 2006

Une lettre terrifiante

Un jour, j’ai reçu une lettre du ministère de l’ intérieur. La lettre me demandait d’aller au bureau du ministère le lendemain, à 8 heure du matin. Après une longue nuit blanche, je me suis réveillée à 8 heures moins quart. J’ai couru à ma destination et quand je suis arrivée, j’ai demandé à un passant où était le bureau du ministre. Le bureau était au sous- sol, donc j’ai descendu l’escalier et je l’ai enfin trouvé. J’ai frappé à la porte. Quand, je suis entrée, j’ai trouvé un homme assis à son bureau. Je pense qu’il était le secrétaire du ministre. Je me suis approché de lui et lui ai donné la lettre sans dire un mot. Il m’a demandé d’attendre. Une minute après, il m’a accompagnée au bureau du ministre. À ce moment, je mourais de peur. Le secrétaire m’a donné un bout de papier et il m’a dit, « éteignez votre portable, lisez ça et répondez, vous comprenez ? » .j’ai hoché de la tête et j’ai regardé le papier qui avait 2 phrases: 1. je m’appelle …, suis né(e) …. J’ai fait la moue sans écrire un mot. Le secrétaire est retourné et il m’a dit : « vous avez fini Madame ? ». J’ai fait non de la tête. Il a froncé les sourcils et m’a dit :´Finissez vite madame, il n’ y a pas besoin de beaucoup réfléchir ». J’ai vite écrit et lui a dit quelque chose que je n’ai pas entendu. Le secrétaire s’est approché de moi et il m’a dit : « je suis désolé Madame, vous avez reçu une lettre par erreur ».

Saber "Already"

Because of my work with interiors, my fellow mates are workers like plumbers, carpenters, electricians ... Etc. In case you have not dealt with one, I would like to give you a quick overview on the profile of a worker " sanai3i" in Cairo. Quiet talented with what they do, however all the work is done on trial and error basis. In most cases, a worker gets very little education to none. In spite of the fact that interior work whether construction or decorative is heavily based on taking measurements, the sanai3i hates using a meter, usually comes without one to a work site and needless to say paper and pencils are usually provided by the client. Also its worthy to say that a worker in Cairo will never do a mistake, its always someone else who did it or it's the fault of the wall or the floor or another inexperienced worker. On a different note, a worker is always fascinated by new English words like OK, already ..Etc. Saber is a new worker that I met recently and he does bamboo work. I have Saber saved on my phone as Saber "Already". Saber loves the word already and uses it in every sentence that he says, regardless if it fits or not. So for example for all the following questions, Saber will answer Already :
Can you come take measurements next Sunday, ya Saber? -- yes/ no already
How much will this cost? --- already 700 L.E
Please paint this brown and this white. -- already

After getting completely confused, I decided to explain to Saber how to use the word "Already". I tried to explain the difference between Ok and Already, also that we only use already to indicate that something has been previously done. It took me about 10 minutes to explain to him the difference and give him examples and then I finally asked him if he understood and he said " Already" :)

take care -- already :)

enta 3aref betkalem mien:)

Before saying anything I would like to introduce myself because I believe that what people say is greatly based on who they are and what they have gone through in life. I am not going to say much, however the headlines are; Ex IT professional, currently an experienced candle maker & a “wanna” be interior designer. Fully Egyptian, born & raised in Cairo Egypt with intense traveling during my teen years until my late twenties which ended with immigration to Canada for a couple of years and then finally settling in Egypt for no apparent reason. Happily married & blessed with a beautiful daughter, also called Gamila :)