Saturday, December 29, 2007


It's the Christmas/ Eid holiday, I'm supposed to be in Dhaka celebrating with my family, but where am I? I'm still in Egypt. Masr just won't let me go. The post office, to be exact, wont let me go. I sent my passport back to Singapore to get a special visa for Bangladesh, my mother sends it back to Cairo, and whaddya know, it never arrives.

So I'm still in Egypt.

And try as I might to get out of this country, just for a little while, I really just need a tiny break, PLEASE — nope. No passport means no travel anywhere. No Jordan, Syria, nowhere. I can go to ...Alexandria. Where right now the winds will blow you straight into the Med.

So I'm still in bloody Egypt.

But on a less bitter note, it's actually been surprisingly lovely. Over the 10 days of vacation that everyone (all 8 of us foreigners left in this city) had, we fed, and fed and fed ourselves continuously. There wasn't a night where someone hasn't cooked dinner, there hasn't been a night where we havent strained our voices singing Christmas Carols. I now finally have acquainted myself with holiday weight gain. On Eid, my Christian friends came over, unplanned, and cooked us a five star Christmas meal. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans — very white food. So on Eid, five days later, Salman (the only other desi around) and I took our revenge. We cooked desi food and forced everyone to painfully dance to bhangra music.

So I'm still in Egypt. Yay!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


All morning, I wondered what that strange moaning sound was. At first picked up by my subconscious, ignored by my conscious — but as it continued, at times more frequently, I realised it was the bleating, braying and moaning of animals tethered to every corner of my neighborhood. All waiting to be slaughtered.

They really weren't exaggerating. The streets really are flowing with blood. Every street corner. I walked to a friends house, passing by a big mother of a cow. I walked back home not more than 40 minutes later, and it was on the ground, skinned, gutted, head lying on the pavement, eyes shut, bloody slowly streaming downhill.

There is a bull tethered to a store window on 26th of July. A big fat bull, tall as a tall man. It stands there waiting, silently staring into the shop windows. Perhaps, he's trying not to think of what awaits him.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


One day, you stand in your apartment lobby and accidentally catch your boweb (doorman) lifting his galabiyya above his knees — your boweb who seems to never wear anything but traditional egyptian thobes and galabiyyas, usually a turban on his head — and he has blue Nike (fake) tracksuit bottoms on underneath. You wonder if that's what Egypt is all about: a man who appears to be in a traditional galabiyya....with Nike tracksuit bottoms on underneath for comfort. Amused. Troubled.