Walking, watching

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Butcher shop by Lars Plougmann (yes, you can find these shops everywhere)


I am exploring my options and my limits. Well, some of you remember that I am scared of Cairo streets. I am somewhat terrified to take a cab at night on my own since I don’t know the road and cannot speak the language. I find it challenging to walk on my own during the day. So today I decided to deal with some of these fears.

I decided to walk to a big pharmacy at the end of my street. It is a 10 minute walk. I would not even think about it in Budapest – would just up and go. Ah well, I am no longer in Budapest, so l need to deal with things here. On my way to the pharmacy I’ve heard Arabic Habibi more than 10 times. Men were following me with their eyes. To be honest I was more scared of meeting some religious woman wearing this black religious gown. And I met some of them on my way and … nothing happened. I went to the pharmacy and back and NOTHING happened: I was not attacked or harassed, no one followed me and no one preached at me. It was all FINE.

On my way back I dropped by the store. People who work there already know me. They are aware that this ginger woman never takes plastic bags, but carries things in a blue CEU bag. They know my name and what I normally buy. They all smile when they see me and try to speak English to me.

One of my friends once said: you should love Cairo simply because there is no Soviet-style client service. Local shop assistants will give you change from any banknote you have, unlike in mother-Russia. They will not tell you to go to another store and break it. It happened to me many times: in the morning you want to buy a chocolate/magazine/ a pack of cigarettes and have a bill of 1000 rubles and kiosk-people would tell you to go somewhere else and get some change. Very rude and somewhat bossy. As bossy as you can be working in kiosk.

So thank you Cairo for polite shop assistants.

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About Masha Egupova

I am coming from the small city on the Russian Far East called Vladivostok, but Chinese call it 海參崴 [Hǎishēnwǎi] meaning "Sea Cucumber Cliffs." In my blog I will present the view from and about Vladivostok and my views on what is going on in Russia in general.

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