Walk Like An Egyptian

by F H Erba

 

Cairo

blistering heat

so dry it suffocates.

Covering up is cooler than

baring all and it prevents hot tempers

when you’re holding hands with a whiter than white man.

 

Egypt

is tolerant

of the Western tourists

wearing sleeveless t-shirts and shorts,

but I dress conservatively unless

I want the dagger-looks stabbed in my direction.

 

During

fiercely hot days,

we walk from one hotel

to the next, to stop heat zapping

the energy needed, to place, one foot

in front, of the other. Walk. Slow. Like. E-gyp-tians.

 

Coffee

sweet, dark, mazboot

whilst playing their towla

smoking apple scented shisha -

the only woman in the coffee shop.

The locals become curious, perplexed, impressed.

 

Menus

dual language

for locals and tourists,

charging Westerners ten times more.

Of course, if you read Arabic numbers

you can impress yet confuse, making them wonder.

 

Cairo

local cuisine

tastes of home not abroad.

Their lack of attention to time

has been with me since birth due to my dad.

Pale, pink skin and blue eyes betray my origin.

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