I am really beginning to enjoy “non-teaching” days. Spent some time with Mohammed in Suez City. His wife and children stayed with her parents. About 6:00pm Mohammed asked if I would like to go to a wedding and off we went. About 30 minutes outside Suez, Mohammed turned off the road, in the dark and proceeded to drive toward some far off fires. I did not have a clue.
As we approached I could make out several large tents, some open on all sides and some closed (I found out later the closed tents were for the women). Any way these things were huge and the men were sitting on rugs spread on the sand. A few of the younger men were in western clothing but the vast majority were wearing gallabayas (the long night shirt looking apparel, common in Egypt and elsewhere). This was a scene straight out of National Geographic. The men wore turbans and were seated on the ground and seemed to be age grouped. Our arrival was met by everyone in the tent. It must have taken 30 minutes just to Salaam each person there. A large metal tray (about three feet in diameter) was brought in and placed on the ground in front of us. It contained an 8 inch high pile of brown rice with chunks of lamb and goat piled on top. Dinner had begun. The goal was to select a piece of meat, tear it apart and consume the smaller pieces. Then scoop up large mouthfuls of rice with the spoon provided. Here we were, somewhere in the sand, eating dinner in a Bedouin Wedding camp. The neat part is that they were all related to Mohammad, one big nomadic family. The hospitality of the Egyptian people is legend. The hospitality of the Bedouin is extraordinary. We ate for about 2 hours, drank a gallon of tea and began our goodbyes. Mohammed is highly respected. I don’t think many Bedouin earn PhDs. As we drove off in the night, past large herds of goats and sheep, I could not help thinking that during the whole evening, I never did see a camel……… or a woman.
In the morning it is off to Ismailia.