A bus. We stand, balanced by smooth poles, beside a man in western clothes and two others clothed in long white dishdasha and red headpieces called a gutra. A little girl dressed in a pink kisses her jeans-garbed daddy, while mommy smiles nearby; she's covered head to toe in black. Women in niqab mingle with girls wearing pants and long, loose hair. Behind the tinted glass a red neon sign hangs in a clear,dark sky. It reads "Food Barn" - in English.
A ride around the airport. Windows, lights, palm trees in pots, exhaust, horns, squealing brakes.
At our stop, the bus empties quickly. I'm slow thanks to a tree trunk sized ankle. Katie and Kimber wait, carrying my bags and theirs too. Inside, choose: one quickly moving line for arrivals from GCC countries or three congested entrances for Other Nationalities...like us.
Yallah, yallah. Ta'allah. Hurry. Come. We are pressed forward.
A woman alone carries a baby in a basket, toddler at her side. Women in saris and jeans. Men, families. People from everywhere.
A long wait. At last, our turn.
Salaam alaykum, I say.
Alaykum al salaam, she replies.
Stand there, look here; Camera snaps, a green light flashes, becomes two letters, "OK." Your passport? Do you have a visa? Why are you here? Where are you staying?
And finally: your card? I give it to her. I don't ask "how much."
Shokran. Il awf.
Four big bags (one is Bob's) and three small loaded onto a rolling cart. We aim for a sign marked "exit" in English and Arabic. Through the door, a wide, tiled room surrounded by glass on three sides.
Behind the glass? Faces. Lots and lots of faces. Piled up one behind the other. Whoa.
We file toward a door on the other side of the wide, empty room. More faces here, only these are attached to bodies, all male. Behind them, a stream of traffic hums. Horns honk. Exhaust, gasoline smells. Hesitation. What's Dad's phone number? Kimberly says.
And then, there he is! Al humdu il allah!
Ahhh, memories. It all sounds so familiar...and you are now sharing it with your kids! --AK
Have fun, guys! And learn a lot!
I just noticed that there is an empty spot right there in front of the apartment for Bob's yacht...when will he be parking his there? :) AK
I don't remember a place in Cairo that looks like that. Familiar, but different. Beautiful. GrMaMa
Post a Comment