Things I Find Confusing

  • guys driving donkey carts while talking on cellphones
  • they sell underwear and bras on the street here and nobody bats an eyelash
  • stickers and decorations on Egyptian taxi cabs
  • Loofahs
  • sexual harassment.  Seriously, guys, what’s really going on here?  “Oh wow, that strange man just yelled derogatory come-ons and made kissing noises at me!  It must be love! I am so excited by his advances, I think I will exit this moving tram and begin a sordid and salacious love affair RIGHT NOW!”
  • Columbus day
  • how to cross the street like an Egyptian.  it’s like a sixth sense when Alexandrian pedestrians slink on through moving traffic and I just get jumpy and wait for a traffic cop to take pity on me.
  • why English has so many aggravating minimal pairs: crops, craps, crabs, cribs, crypts, crêpes, krebs, creeps… and Arabic has so many words that mean similar things but sound totally different.
  • what are American stereotypes of Egyptians?  ’cause all I can think of are mummies and pyramids, but people keep talking to me like the list is far longer.
  • how 54 percent of Egyptians think Global Warming is a serious issue (10 points ahead of the United States), but there is still a huge trash problem and too many cars for street space.
  • what girls hide under hijabs that are voluminous all around, including right under the chin 
  • people leave their cellphones on and let them ring and ring and ring without picking them up.  A guy on the train from Cairo to Alexandria, kept playing his over and over and over deliberately, while wearing headphones.  In the States, I’d be perfectly within my rights to give him the what-for (“hey dude, not cool.”) when I am trying to sleep but I don’t know if I should be culturally sensitive– if this even qualifies– or if I’m allowed to embrace my inner porcupine.
  • slacktivism
  • why most of the women on Egyptian TV are not veiled, unless it’s specifically a religious program when so many on the street are.
  • how cosmetics companies get away with trying to sell us products by touting ingredients like “cucumber extract,” “fruit micro-waxes” and “nutrium moisture.”  kudos, guys, kudos–but… erm… what are we talking about here?  The worst: mascara commercials.  Am I right, ladies?
  • why it’s 2011 and we still don’t have a scientific explanation for why you can’t tickle yourself.
  • how the falafel is so fluffy and moist.  how? how? how?

” one shish tawook, one koshari, one fluffy falafel fairy and how bout a coke?” 

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