Saturday, 27 July 2013

Reporting from the Inside Out



I received a couple messages last night asking how we were faring through the events taking place here.  I have to say that it's a bit odd trying to give a report.  John and I feel perfectly safe in our location and our new friends have been very kind to us.

A local family stopped by yesterday to check on us and a doctor that we haven't even met yet heard of us and called to see if we needed anything.  Wow.

The flat where we are staying has DSL so we were able to check a variety of news stations for updates about what was happening.  Funny.  I am located in-country, but pretty much have no more idea about what's going on than you do.

I was able to see many reports of Tahrir Square in Cairo, scenes from Alexandria and so on.  The downside is that these stations are all in Arabic so we weren't really able to grasp too much of what's being said.  They simply talk too fast.  If only Dora the Explorer had a news show.

We heard from one of our friends in Cairo and he told me that he was on TV last night.  I laughed (see photo).  

Tahrir Square (Stock photo)
I also followed Twitter to see real-time reports.  This one brought me to tears.  Local Cairo Christians had decided to fast alongside their M countrymen in a sign of solidarity that they are all Egyptians.  At sunset, when it is tradition for Ms to break their fast, local churches provided meals for those gathered at the rally.  Church bells rang out at the same time the call to prayer was announced.  Love in action.  May not have seen that report, but it happened.



We went to sleep around midnight to the sound of the imam's sermon, children running up and down the streets and horns doing the victory honk.

This morning, John and I thought we'd venture out after having our declared "snow day" on Friday.  As we walked through the sandy paths of the village where we live, we arrived at the hub of the town.  One lone tumbleweed rolled by.  Okay, not really but that's how it felt.  There wasn't anyone on the streets.  Anywhere.

We knew it would be quiet after yesterday's events.  Everyone was up quite late and frankly when it's this hot and it's a time of fasting…who wouldn't sleep in?  We (optimistically) thought that perhaps, by some slim chance one of the stores that sells some items that we need might (just maybe) be open.  Optimistic indeed.  No go. 

We stopped at a hotel and ate breakfast just so we could say we accomplished something.  We were the only ones there.  Currently, there's little to no tourists at all.  A total of 3 waiters and 2 managers took care of our mealtime service AND gave us a tour of the facility.  We did not lack for attention.

Afterward, we walked back toward our apartment and came upon a dukon (little store) that was open.  I thought this would be a good chance to practice small talk and introduce myself to the lady manager.  I greeted her and told her my name.  She smiled broadly (not expecting someone who looked like me to speak Arabic) and told me her name.  We chatted a bit and then I asked her if she had any Bebsi Diet or Coca Light.  She nodded and went to the cooler to help me.  She pulled out a big bottle of Sprite.

I smiled and shook my head no.  I repeated my request.  She said yes and handed me a big bottle of Coke (regular).  I took it and thanked her.  John thought this was all quite funny.  She then asked me something that I thought sounded like, "You would like Coca Light?" I nodded yes which got me another big bottle of Coke added to the bag.

John said she was a great businesswoman and laughed.

I took my 2 (non wanted) bottles of Coke back to the apartment and sat down to cool off.  (John told me that my face was bright red. That is now a permanent state of affairs.)  

Our interaction with the dukon lady was so normal, but so much more is happening broadly.  I'm not sure what will happen today.  Many locals will return to their routine as they know it trying to earn enough money to buy food for iftar (the breaking of the fast meal) this evening.  Life is lived here day by day.

There's a phrase in Arabic, "Shwyya, Shwyya…"  It means "little by little."  I guess that's our story and it's Egypt's as well.  Little by little lessons are learned, discoveries are made, progress and setbacks… 

That's what's happening today.  Reporting live from Egypt.  This is Pam signing off.  Thanks for reading.

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Today's BOGO Blog:  We're Gonna Rock Down to Electric Avenue

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