Very quiet day today. Slept late had fuol and tamiea breakfast with the guys who work on the 6th floor of the hotel. One of them vaporizes and Schazam, he returns with food. I have no idea where he goes and being reasonably familiar with the neighborhood, I have never asked. Rafiq and I went to Khan El Khalily this afternoon. This is the old market area (I think just for tourists). I can’t imagine what everyday people would do with statues of Nefertiti (in varying sizes) or an endless supply of “I heart Egypt” t-shirts.
The great part about today was that I broke my self imposed “black cab rule.” Rafiq hailed the dreaded black cab and as I began to scream and cry, he pushed me into the back seat and off we went. I learned many things today. First of all, Rafiq speaks less English than I speak Arabic. Most of our conversations begin with incomprehensible mumbling and end with both of us laughing. We have a deeply bonded friendship. By the way, Rafiq is a very large person with all the attributes of a professional boxer. Most impressive is his language ability. The Arabic word for “No” is “La” a quiet, soft, gentle word. And so it is when Rafiq speaks. However, the second time “La” seems to come out in all capital letters and would be roughly translated as “not in your lifetime, pig breath.” Even the drivers of the black cabs were impressed with his linguistics and happily lowered the fares as a sign of respect. We had a great time being pursued by shop keepers for most of the afternoon. Had a quiet cup of coffee and/or tea in a local back street tea house with hubblie bubblies at each table. Ha – gotcha. They use some kind of sweet smelling stuff not the famous hubblie bubblie tobacco outlawed in most parts of the civilized world. Besides, all it was doing was making Rafiq cough. An enjoyable day with lots of work tomorrow.
Farewell from the streets of Cairo.