Monday, October 17, 2005
Egyptian men are of another sort altogether, but for the most part, I can deal with it. I have been proposed to more times than I can remember.... a lot of men here want the VISAs, or just foreign women. I have heard that because Egyptian women are very protected by everyone (they must be virgins when they get married) many Egyptian men think foreign women are a way to get around that. They have a very wrong stereotype that all (or most) foreign women are easy. Just as many foreigners think that all Egyptian men are pigs. Egyptians hiss and whistle and make all sorts of comments or sounds. odd. Walking down the street is an experience on its own.Last night I went to Khan al-Khalili, a giant market place in Islamic Cairo. It is not the best place to wander around alone, I suppose, not that it isn't safe. The shop owners heckle everyone that walks by, especially foreign women. I didn't actually buy anything as I didn't want to deal with them. It is like a maze in there. I was dropped of on a side that I wasn't familiar with and it took a lot of walking and a lot of time to find the area that I know. The taxi driver on the way there wanted me to be his 'friend'. As soon as I got in, he stopped and bought two cups of mango juice, one for him and one for me. A bit odd. Then he wanted me to sit in the front. No thanks... La'a Shukran. Then he wanted to park and go into the market with me to have a sheesha. La'a shukran. The traffic here is like no other. There are lines on the road but they are generally ignored as are most traffic rules. Also, there are no traffic signals/lights anywhere. There are huge intersections with no lights and cars going every which way. Cars, trucks, buses (big and small) and throw in a few carts pulled by horses and a few pulled by donkeys and then add a great number of people trying to cross the road, jump on the buses, etc. Not a nice scene. It is sad to see horses running their butts off down the road, trying to stay with the traffic. In the country there are a lot more donkeys and such.It is mid Ramadan right now. For those of you that don't know, Ramadan is an Islamic holy month in which they don't eat or drink or put anything in their mouths from sunrise to sunset. They have a large breakfast at about 4 am or so and a feast at about 5:30 pm. They have to wait for the announcement from the local mosque or what ever. In Alexandria, cannons went off to announce that people could begin eating. I eat breakfast when ever I get up but after that, I try not to eat or drink in front of anyone (unless I know that they are Christian and therefore not observing the fasting). It is difficult at times, especially when it is so hot during the day. It is starting to cool off a bit at night.I will be staying in my hotel (Ciao hotel) for one more night and then I will go back to Alexandria to sort out my things. I am storing a suitcase at the school in Alex and can leave what ever I want there.I have been in the same hotel since I got to Cairo with 3 others. I am still in the same room but they are charging me for a single: 50 Egyptian Pounds (about $10) a night.Well, that's all for now. I want to actually do something today and it is already the afternoon. Because of Ramadan, things close at 3pm or so.