Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cairo: the City Victorious

Tonight was interesting and typical of my experiences in this city. After a necessary nap my friends and I set out for Iftar (the breaking of the daily fast during Ramadan) at a family's house. Our cab took us through Old Cairo just as the sun was setting. Lucky for us this is, in my opinion, the best view and the best time of day for the city. Eventually we drove past a mosque where men stood handing out packages of dates so that drivers could break their fast as well. Our cab driver made sure we each got some and then stopped and bought us water. This was very kind of him, and in line with the spirit of Ramadan. People tend to adhere more strictly to religious rules but are also extra generous and considerate of others during this time.

The meal at the Massoud's was delicious. Lots of traditional dishes homemade by an Egyptian mother. Her husband, a university professor, after a few minutes into the meal declared that while he was sure I did not understand Arabic, he was impressed with my ability to comprehend based on context. Ha, at least that's something.

After dessert (fresh mango and homemade yogurt) we set off in to the night. We made our way over to an old hotel with a rooftop bar. There we enjoyed the view, a soccer match, and as always some shisha. The ride back was eventful. We were stopped by Egyptian police after making a questionable turn. This was both infuriating and hilarious as there are virtually no lanes or crosswalks in Cairo, so that anyone cared about technical traffic violations seemed contradictory. Alas, we made it to the shwarma stand for a late night snack, and the incident was soon forgotten. All in all, not a bad night to kick off my 23rd birthday.

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