Monday, April 11, 2005

I love Cairo

I admit. I love this city. You have to get beyond what's on the surface, get to know it, and overlook all the insanity to love it.

If you want to live in Cairo, the only way to do it is by loving it. And you have to believe in God. Your life is hanging by a thread with every step you take, even inside your house. You don't know when it will crumble and fall apart. Yet people live till they're 80, and some are healthy as a 30 year old. They cling to life here and would never emigrate. You have to believe in God here, let go, He owns your life.

What do you wanna do here. Have sex in the street, sure, in a public bus, sure. Any adventure is doable here.

But really, this is were I was born, this is were I was raised, this is were I have friends from when I was 5 years old. These are the streets were I can never feel lost. Everyday you bump into people you know that you might not have seen in years (you even bump into bloggers that you don't know how they look like). Cairo is part of me, and I am shaped by her, the good and the bad in me. I get annoyed for being searched by security in a public place two days after a bomb exploded in the heart of Cairo, "how can you search me in my home?"!

Cairo is not the city of the conquerer, nor a victorious city. Yet it hasn't been defeated, and most likely will never be.

Living in a perfect city ruined me, made me doubt my love. I always loved Cairo, could always find that mysterious thing about it that kept me going. That other perfect city ruined me. But why do I want Cairo to be perfect?! I should treat her like a partner, know how to handle her, take her as she is, not try to change her, and love her for who she is (everyone says they can, but no one does apparently). I ain't never gonna have a perfect partner. Just accept it and look for the goods in her. She's got plenty.

No its not the human contact (like someone here said before), this is the worst part about her. Cairo is not an old city, she's just had too many experiences, with mean men. So she won't embrace you easily, has to trust you first before giving in.

Take a peak at her beauty, by driving around on a Friday morning, by looking at her from up top on the 18th floor of Semiramis, feel old Cairo without getting into it from the Azhar Park.

But don't just peak from outside. You have to get invovled in the city to love it, cultural activities (any language, and any art), food, even demonstrations. Find those unique romantic places. Some adventure will do you good, and how do you know you're sane, if you don't go insane every once and a while.

You just need to know when to take a break.


--
If anyone is wondering, I'm still feeling bad (not as bad though), and I left work early because I was a bit sick. So this post could be all hallucinations.

One thing I learnt. When depressed, blog like there's no tomorrow.

30 comments:

The Sandmonkey said...

Ya habiby. Ya 2albay ya kataket. Eih elhalawa dih?

altough, i am wondering, where exactly in cairo can u have sex on the street or ona public bus? Cause, u know, that info may come in handy someday!

Mohamed said...

You have to love it to know. You don't love it enough.

Mohammed said...

SM,
lol
I had the same thought...
I think the bus is the air-conditioned bus...
i don't know of a place where u can have sex in public, but i know of places where u can't hold hands in public...

TIC said...

Mohamed, I agree that loving Cairo means appreciating it. Every single time I drive on 6th of October bridge above the Nile, very late at night simply takes my heart away. I feel inner comfort and huge satisfaction- even passion when I'm driving across the city when it is empty including on Friday mornings; or walking to zeinab khatoun at al-azhar after iftar in ramadan; drinking hot chocolate/coffee in cilantro zamalek while looking at the street view outside while contemplating the dynamic that moves it; enjoying the warm winter sun; loving alexandria... i'll stop because the list is endless..
You can't be hallucinating.

Jeff said...

Great post, although I too am skeptical about the sex in public claim. I'm amazed by how well you - and Hellme and Sandmonkey - write in English. I'll be able to write that well in Arabic after 87 more years of study.

Mohamed said...

Guys (SandMonkey and Mohammed), is this all that caught your eyes from the post, sex on the streets!

Mohammed, I didn't say a public place, I said a 'street', and a public bus (which u know what i mean, it is the air-conditioned one).

But again guys, there are many forms of sex!

Haal said...

I loved how you talked about the
'she'. Very beautiful. Sensitive. And it does reveal a glimpse of your sadness on some level.

You also do express how women (and probably everyone) wants to deeply be with his/her partner. Thanks!

MoonLightShadow said...

Why think of it as hallucinations?! I don’t think it is.

I liked that post very much.. for the first time I know why I love Cairo, you said what I’ve always felt, but I was never able to describe it in words.

Damascene said...

Nice blog ..that's why I love Damascus

Mohammed said...

hehe..
so what does this say about us mohamed?
sex on the street being the only thing that caught our eyes :P

Mohamed said...

It says that guys are guys I guess.

Anonymous said...

Damn, a year in Egypt, and I never saw anywhere you could have sex in the street! Guess you have to be a native ;-)

I always thought the prettiest view in Cairo was driving north bound on the Corniche, and looking west at the Pyramids. There’d always be a lot of feluccas sailing about and massive palm/date trees along the Nile--made you feel like you'd gone back in time. 'Course you didn't dare look long or you'd smash into a donkey cart/bus/car etc. Driving in Cairo--NOT for the faint of Heart!!!

Later
Tater

Hellme said...

Bloody hell. They just won't let it go, will they :)

Pack of rabid blood hounds that lot!

The guy is romanticising a city for pete's sake...give him a friggen break ;)

Take it easy Mo...any more of this and I'll start worrying about you. Ghayar el sanf ya basha.

Mohamed said...

Hehehe.. lol, thanks Hellme. I'm starting to worry about myself too. We can thank Haal for that (not really her fault, everything happens at once).

Tater, yes you have to be a native. If you're not, you can just do it in your rented apartment. Why the hassle.

TIC said...

The reactions this post illicted brings us back to the mars and venus thing. Seriously, men's minds seem set on a way track huh!
I'm not generalising or male bashing here. Mohamed is talking about CAIRO and 97%of the responses are on about the weirdest thing he said (being a man himself).

Twosret said...

Hey Mo,

I love this topic. My favorite spots in Cairo is a small restaurant off the Haram street close enough to see some green land and the Pyramids.

The river nile view from Le Meridien Hotel is the most Scenic. Feluka on the nile is the best thing that ever happened to me.

There is something mysterious and exotic about Khan El-Khalili.

The guy that sells fire hot susage in the graveyard LOL is great too!

There is no place like home I guess.

T.

zoss said...

mohamed; I wouldn't say van/bc is perfect, but to each their own i guess.. Then again maybe none is, and -as you say- one has to learn to love and accept despite the imperfections.. cheers

Mohamed said...

Finally.. someone figured my perfect city!

ringgit said...

As a tourist, walking along Zamalek towards Hard Rock Cafe during break fast in Ramahdan was a very pleasant experience. People breaking fast on the street benches would generously invite us to join them. Of course, it was extremely quiet at that time. Cairo is truly an amazing city.

Highlander said...

Your post reminds of Kazem Al sahir's song , the one in which he speaks about Baghdad as a beautiful woman ;). I'm always teary eyed after that one. My favourite place in Cairo is a small restaurant on a side street near Misr liltayaran main branch ( I think) where they sell the best gambari I have ever tested. Oh it's a mat3am sha3bi thingy with 2 tables and about 10 chairs but boy was it great...beats any 5 star restaurants.

Al Sharief said...

"AL Kahera" It is ...
Cairo is just the western nackname ...
My favorite spot is when you pause
for few seconds of silence atop "Burj Al Kahera" (Cairo Tower) when it's near empty & a bit windy some how you see it all and you feel it all... the feeling goes beyond the city ... It's "MISR" (Egypt)for all what it could mean & what it stood & could stand for...

A lot of other goodies of course...top 3 are:
- sailing the faluka in the Nile near Maadi.
- Hobbing the Cairo contrasts of old & new. Try that in the same night, ie do AL Hussein & then do the Hard Rock or some thing.
- To an extent the tolerrance of the city where almost evry thing is possiable & doable...
I'm not sure about sex in the bus but I could sweare I've seen the closest thing to it in a public park (long time ago)and it was passionate enough to turn our heads in disbelieve!

Maryanne said...

Been looking for other blogs on Egypt and must say that yours is good. I lived in Vancouver for a number of years and it is very close to a perfect city but I couldn't trade Cairo for anywhere. I love the way that the bridges of Cairo turn into parks in the summer with the guys renting chairs and selling termis. I have to admit to having abandoned the Mother of the World for her countryside, but as long as I can take a breath I do enjoy my forays into her insanity.

Res Ipsa said...

Cairo sucks. SUCKS. The city is polluted, full of beggars, unclean, corrupt, ugly – overall it is a very nasty place. There is decadence in that city that stinks so badly, I can smell it even when I am thousands of miles away. It is like a big circus, well I guess it fits most Egyptians well, for the majority of the Egyptian populace are either clowns or circus spectators. It is the ultimate freak-show.

zayan_69 said...

Okay I could write a book about Cairo. I was born there, grw up there for a bit then immigrated to Canada, just befoe high school started went back to Cairo for the best seven years of my life, until finally, yet again back here in Canada, leaving AUC to finish studying here in some town in the middle of nowhere.

Cairo is fucking amazing. From the people that you can trust on the streets, their friendliness, their homeyness. The kiosks owned by the sheikhs with the million dollar grins. The other world inside the A,erican University in Cairo. The people I met and befriended in high school, never forgotten. Cairo is the heart of the world, nothing can ever come close to it, nothing. It became my layground when I got in to photojournalism, I wanderlusted by way through it, through kaninkalili, pyramids of course, intermingled with old and new cairo. Eveeyr new day is a new adventure. Sittign in your house, you alays hear people talking outside in the street, in a way, it si the city htat never sleeps. You have the mosa7araty at 4 am waking you up, you have the street vendors that hassel you on traffic lights when you are late for school or work, but you wouldnt have it any other way. I love the community feel of Cairo, the feeling that if you fuck up in your life, or need a shoulder to cry on or lean on, you will find that shoulder. In the western world, no matter how luring it may seem at first, has a kind of individualistic competitiveness that will never replace Cairo's glory. I remember when my firends and I roamed the streets lookign for adventures, we imitated the show jackass, and started causing trouble for the hell of it, we were young and imature. When we got older, Cairo gave us the best education at the AUC, it gave us great romantic spots on the nile, it gave us the countless coffee shops and cafes that we traveled to one after the other, like an endless array of hot spots.

As I sit here in my dorm room somewhere in Ontario, Canada, I count the days until I will graduate and fly back home, to the best place on earth, and persue my masters at AUC, reconciliating myself with Cairo.

One of the many things I wont forget, is when millions of people united in Tahrir square and demonstrated a couple of years back against the arab-israeli conflict and the havoc that face the Palestinians. We all protested in unity, it was massive, it was great, it was people expressing themselves, beauty in the heart of downtown Cairo, especially when AUCians stood together inside the university campus and prated together in harmony. I dont think that picture could ever be painted anywhere else. Speak your mind, go to: unslanted.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

The only MAIN reason why Cairo seems to 'suck' over the past few years is because it is highly populated. It's like, haven't you guys ever heard of contraception? ...I guess that's a hint why Egyptians seem to have strong sex appeal...lol

Anonymous said...

Cairo sucks monkey balls....Georgia's hospitality city my ass......in fact damn the whole state of Georgia

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oscar said...

I love the Cairo too beause I can have sex without viagraonline in the street and in a public bus, I want to go to this place again next year.

shahan said...

hi all, i've most of the posts and to my relieve its a fun place to go to...my friend talked me into visiting egypt this june but now i'm glad i agreed to come.so guys and girls help me out here give me some suggestions on places to see ..where to go and where not to go as there's been voilence recently in cairo and in nearby cities i'm not sure if thing are back to normal for tourists...

Mark Benson said...

Cairo is among the best the nation offers for its visitors who come by flights to Egypt, the city is a sandy haven one can explore during the holidays. The pyramids and the Sphinx are simply a must watch.