Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm not a big fan of Horaya, I must say. I don't have the qualms more seasoned and culturally-attuned expats have about study-abroaders and tourists invading the old bar-cum-ahwa and diminishing the atmosphere created by the ghosts of subversive political discussions and wizened old men playing chess. Or do they play towla, or is it dominoes? I never see them anymore to notice, always peeking in to see who of my Cairo acquaintances are there. My beef is primarily with the curtain of cigarette smoke that hangs heavy over the place, the terrible Egyptian beer, and handsy Milad, the waiter.
And yet, last night I found myself braving the carcinogens and Milad's ridicule for abstaining from Stella to "bro down" with a new CMRS friend (whom I thank for letting me borrow her "bro" phrase), her flatmate, a journalist friend of theirs, and half of everyone else I know in Egypt who also happened to be there. Because this city of 18+ million people is really quite small, the Egyptian blogger whom my new CMRS friend was meeting turned out to be a friend of my high school friend Sheila's. I met him last year when he, Sheila, and I did dinner. And then, who should come walking in but my Egyptian pal Sayed. I won't bore you with the additional connections and coincidences, but there were plenty. It was a Thursday night of the sort I'd forgotten about since I've been spending days on end in the apartment working on my thesis. It hearkened back to the days when Cairo was new and there were all sorts of people to meet and stories to be amazed by. Perhaps Cairo's still much newer than I give it credit for.
I recently discovered that I am not the first Carl in Cairo.
And yet, nothing's ever new, is it? I recently discovered that another, better-traveled and more adventurous Carl regaled the blogosphere with his tales of life in Egypt from 2007-2008. Before I begin quoting Ecclesiastes, I shall move to the news:


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