I have traveled about 12 hours to Cairo over two days. I am back in the Cairo airport tonight, at 1:30am, to travel to Prague by way of Frankfurt. I am so tired, I had actually forgotten where I was for a moment.
I have visited Downtown Cairo, Coptic Cairo, Islamic Cairo, Jewish Cairo, and Giza. And still no one in this country can accept the fact that I am a standard issue white girl from America. I have been spoken to in Spanish, Arabic and Egyptian and when I tell someone I am not, in fact, Arabic, they tsk tsk with disdain. Since these people seem to be so confused about where I am from, I have decided that should I ever have to flee America due to my life of crime, Cairo is my first stop. I am comfortable knowing that if the Embassy ever walked around with my photo asking locals if they have seen this American outlaw, they will all throw their hands up in the air and say, “No, no American girl!”
Yesterday, I posed for pictures with school kids who allegedly never saw a white girl before who was not on TV. They told my tour guide they were going to put me on their Facebook so all their friends can see. Internationally known.
I managed to charm (ha ha) my tour guide so much that at the conclusion of the organized tour yesterday, he blew off his friends for me. Well!…I played the poor man’s Anthony Bourdain and traveled deep into Giza for dinner at the best local restaurant. I was not disappointed. I ate everything so fast and with such glee, I had a stomach ache when I was done. Chicken, stuffed grape leaves, soup, tahini, vegetable salad, rice and chicken livers, bread. All of it. In my face. It was a spectacular meal with my new friend. At one point, his friend called and asked what he was doing. He laughed because he “was working.” Oh, the meal for 2 with lots left, about 15$. So not only am I a physical / visual anomaly here, I am also rich.
The one thing I can do without, however, is this thin film of dust, dirt and grime that seems to coat my person. I thought I got tan yesterday but it washed off in the shower last night. My clothes, when I take them off, right down to my socks, create a large cloud of dust. I imagine when I walk around, I look more like Pigpen than your average Arab girl.
So I leave Cairo behind after 3 glorious days. Covered in hard won grime and exhausted only in a way traipsing thru the desert can make you. I am not sure what the hell I am going to do in Prague other than freeze, but I will figure something out. Perhaps have a Thanksgiving dinner full of local traditional foods. Just kidding, I am dying for a cheeseburger.