Monthly Archives: October 2011

Moments of happiness


There are moments in life when you realize that you’re happy

So I am happy at the moment and want to remember these days and seconds. Life has finally stopped falling apart and things are getting better. Or at least I feel that they are.

I came here in my rigid search of peace, trying to understand what I am and where I am heading to. Last months in Budapest were a mess for me: confusion and frustration were always following me there. Constant problems with visa, work, friends leaving and staying, losing people, missing someone else, heart scars that did not seem to heal. All that seems really far away now.

I am happy here wearing my flip-flops and a scarf at night, happy going out and smoking sheesha. I realize that somehow I have people around me who care about me and don’t want anything in return. I am happy going to the seaside every now and then, making friends and exploring the city.

Thank you all for being here with me.


If only Egypt had IKEA


Cairo Furniture Craftsmen

… I would be mega happy … I would buy some nice curtains for my apartment and it would not look as ugly as it looks now.

Local furniture preferences are terrifying. My friend Viktor calls it a late-Mubarak style, even thought he has never seen my flat, even on pictures. Nevertheless it is a pretty accurate description.

So here is my quick guide on the furniture styles here.

Just as everything else in Egypt furniture should be impressive. You can find people wearing some crappy clothes BUT having real RayBan glasses and real golden watches. The same logic is applicable to the furniture: the walls might be crappy, the kitchen could be a disaster, but sofas and chairs should be fake gold plated: the more the better. The ensemble would not be complete without green-ish curtains in imperial style. Colden-green combo is the most popular one. I have 2 large sofas in my living room + 2 armchairs, an impressive tall glass table and 6 greeny+golden chairs. Massive chandeliers are also in place.

Back in the USSR day people were hunting for crystal glasses and Japanese china, as well as Persian carpets that were placed on walls. And still, a lot of flats in Russia are stashed with this old stuff. Similar dynamics can be found here. If you go to a countless number of furniture stores in my neighborhood you would find various furniture sets: matching chairs and tables, strange decoration decisions and massive chandeliers. Some might call it Novelle Antique, I would say: Wel’cam to Edgypt!!!!!

That is how the ideal living room would look like - Egyptian style

Indian food in Cairo


Butter Chicken and Naan By Joshua Rappeneker

Due to the shitty internet situation at my apartment I don’t have regular internet access, therefore I am not writing here every day like I used to and like I promised to myself.

Well this time I would like to tell you another food-related story. Next day after the bazaar experience I had a date in a restaurant next to it, called Taj Al Sultan: Moroccan/Indian food. I have not had Indian food here since I arrived. Butter chicken was just simply perfect that night. I did not mind having a glass of wine, but this is too much to ask in this country. We substituted wine for sheesha. I have a strong feeling I will become a chain smoker here, I smoke this sheesha too much and too often. [my momma will not approve ; )]

I remember going to Most in Budapest this summer with Bill. Ordering Indian food in Most is a torture; even though the waiters speak English and some of our friends spoke Hungarian miscommunication was present at all times. Ordering Indian food and asking them not to put sour cream on top of it was a real hard mission for a waiter to fulfill. Since Hungarians put sour cream in every dish they make it is hard for them to comprehend that someone might be lacto intolerant.

Going back to Cairo: I was charmed that night. The restaurant’s roof top offered us a nice view on the bazaar, we could still hear remote sounds of habibi songs mixed with typical city noises. Waiters were nice and curious at the same time. This country does not support PDA, so we had to restrain ourselves and behave, even though it was really hard. Such a significant change for me: from Hungary, where people of all ages kiss each other in metro and cafes [well, not all of the time you really enjoy watching it] to Egypt, where even holding hands is not allowed in public.

The food was marvelous, but I could not even eat half of it. So we took the leftovers with us. But we both were stupid and left the food box in a car over night, well it later on was announced the food did not turn bad.

Missing you all guys, Most, cider, Thai food, White Beer with Egupova, Russian lessons with Bill, coffee and cigarettes with Magnum-the-cat, cooking sessions with Emily and summer Budapest in general.

And yes, Bill, we need to have a proper Skype session some time soon.

Egyptian bazaar and some very old cafe


Khan El Khalili By bonnieann1815

This was one of the best weekends I had in Egypt so far. I am finally falling in love with this country and its people. It is all about meeting the right people and going to right places.

First of all I want to tell you about the local Bazaar called Khan El-Khalili. This is exactly the type of bazaar I was dreaming to see in Cairo. Sure thing I needed to go there with someone local in case I wanted to buy anything: silver or golden jewelry with traditional ancient Egyptian and Arabic patterns, belly dancer equipment, hookas/sheeshas and some other exotic stuff. Sales people are pretty much similar to those in China: trying to rip you off and are eager to bargain. There are many beggars on streets offering people some handkerchiefs and lighters. Street music: Arabic melody with constant repetition of the word habibi. Charming smell of spices and freshly squeezed juices mixed with cafes and people smoking sheesha. This bazaar seems simply magical, as if the scenery was taken from some old fairy-tale. I could walk there for hours looking for some nice things for my house and presents for friends.

Mint tea By Iman Mosaad

Later on we went to a very old traditional café with mint tea and strange pomegranate drinks. Interior of the café is simply impressive: ancient mirrors and wooden crocodiles on the walls, antique chairs and metal midget-tables with henna artists and fake watch sellers sneaking around. Loud people and excitement: all over the place.

Many people ask me why I moved in here, well now I know that I moved here to see places like this old café and a crazy bazaar. To experience all this and get some understanding f what life looks like here.

missing someone


Somewhere in Budapest - September 2009

Woke up with all the thoughts in my head. I was sad yesterday night for no particular reason, or at least I thought there was no particular reason. Well the reason was larger than I realized it yesterday.

I am genuinely sad right now. And cannot even hold it together. The weather outside reminds me of September 2009 in Budapest – two years ago. Oh my Dog, how happy I was at that time. The happiness was almost feasible – when you can almost touch it. I was extremely happy to be in a new town in Europe, to start the new academic year, partying with my old friends from Vlad. And I felt I was loved. And I was loved indeed – my special someone called me every day from far away and asked how I was doing. I had my good friends around and the city was pretty and friendly.

Time has passed and I lost some friends and that special someone. Many things faded away but the true friend stayed. I remember how we went walking and talking one sunny afternoon. We were taking pictures and talking nonsense. I will never forget how you helped me to survive all my drama later on, how u could come over and make pancakes for me just because I was depressed. How much fun we had smoking and drinking Hungarian wine and Dreher beer, sitting in the passage way of my flat, being drunk and all the euphoria with Sophie’s cupcakes or pel’meni.

I will always remember Madrid and Vienna, how we went there in our rigid search of whatever. I will not forget our last party in Budapest in a bar and me crying in my typical manner. How you told me you’re my friend no matter what. I was scared we would eventually stop talking on skype – how it often happens. But we are surviving this, you’re still one of my closest persons in this world.

I was supposed to be in Nantes two days ago. We were supposed to meet there, but I am still here and you’re in France. I miss you endlessly…

Capoeira happy


Roda by By Ben30

I skipped my writing session yesterday. Well, I wanted to write something on Copt Christianity here, but decided to change the topic this morning.

Yesterday I had my old life back. Not that it was old, shabby and boring – to the contrary: it was happy and a laughing one. And I was shining and was typical self, as Lucas describes my sense of humor as rude, bare and blunt – so that was me yesterday. And I found some people who were laughing along and enjoyed my mean jokes. So that was simply brilliant.

I went to my first capoeira class in Cairo. First of all I could not find the place and the teacher did not pick up his phone, so I called 15 times unless he did. In the meantime, my female friend and I were standing in the middle of the street for 20 minutes under the constant men surveillance, cars and mini busses running around. That was intense. But nothing could spoil the pleasure of the good capoeira class.

The teacher was very patient and the students were from all over the world and with different capoeira experience. There were more than 20 people in the class: everyone extremely friendly and smiling. Our roda lasted for more than 40 minutes and local kids were glued to the gym’s windows clapping and watching us play. After the training we all chatted for a while and I met some really nice people who live on the same street. Coincidence? A good one I would say. We laughed all the way back home. Had a 20 minutes’ walk in Nasr City – they proved me that there is nothing I should be afraid of. Marvelous

Capoeira part II to follow tomorrow. Even though I am all sore right now, I can’t help but smile. : )))

being conflicted


Cairo street scenes, Dec 2008 - 43 by Ed Yourdon

I am clearly not burdened by any misconceptions about religion or social norms; therefore my view on relations between sexes is different from what I see here. My views on women clothing are also different.

Local men [or better put it: those men whom I meet on streets] seem like some sort of primitive sexual predators, who just got out of the jungle. It feels like walking through the streets occupied with wilderness, with animals pocking their fingers at you, smiling lasciviously and waving their palms at me.

Today’s example: this morning my colleague was riding a cab when she saw me walking down the street. She wanted to call me and give me a lift, but noticed a flock of wilderness males who were talking about me in Arabic. My colleague decided not to give these species some additional fun and pleasure and did not call me.

Yesterday we decided to go to the seaside. It was quite late for this move – around 2 pm. I have not had enough time to dry my hair so I decided to hide it under the scarf. I normally do that when I am lazy to wash my hair. So my orange scarf completely covered my hair. I also wore a light summery shirt with open shoulders and a long skirt. Summer, heat, sea – what could be better?

Before I got into the car, went to the store or simply sat in the car men eyes were following me everywhere.

And after all this, how these men can be treated seriously? Primitive animals who are convinced they are better than you. How did that happen? Some of them should be caged for serious animal-like behavior.

Of course men at work are completely different: they are nice, polite and we can have a good laugh. I just don’t understand why there is such a huge difference?

Some people would say: you knew where you were going, why are you so surprised? Get used to it? But I can’t. I would say: these things are universal for everyone and people should not be treated like sex objects no matter where you go. Cairo should not be an exception in this case either. Cultural relativism should not be applicable in such cases. IT is even more surprising since this country was exposed to the foreign presence for a very long time, and yet i observe this animal-like behavior.