Lots going on. Let me start with a couple of nights ago. Long ride, got in from Suez later than usual. The hotel guys (Rafiq, Ibrahim, and Badr) invited me to join them for dinner. They prepared a special treat that I had never had before-- they called if “mackarona”. Honestly, it was an excellent pasta and would have been good in any language. I suggested some “gibna” (that is Arabic for cheese – please note I am getting sooooo relaxed with the language here). Gibna, min fudluck. Any way after the gibna/cheese thing I suggested catsup. That did not go over very well. Rafiq suggested I either finish eating or take a ride in a black cab. I immediately resumed eating, cleaning everything on my plate including the hard-boiled bayd. This was enjoyable but the true night of Culinary Delight was yet to come.
Last night Maysaa’s brother and his wife invited me to diner. By the way if you don’t know who Maysaa Barakat is, she and her family are wonderful friends of our family and she is an excellent Arabic teacher. Enough of that – back to dinner. Brother Asser and spouse (I think I have gotten worse with names. His wife’s name is not spouse) story line continues…. Picked me up and we went off into the dark of night and Cairo traffic. We arrived at the Automobile Club. Ha, you say, went to AAA? Not on your life. In the first place this is Egypt. So it would be the EAA! But I digress. We entered a building which once was the playground for the now long gone King Farouk. This former entertainment center for royalty has been transformed into one of the high end eateries in the city (and conservatively classed among the best worldwide). Salad was served in the Salad Room. It wasn’t really salad like “let-us” but rather 12 plates of the most wonderful appetizers one could imagine. All had names, all were exceptional, and I don’t have a clue what they were called. I do know that if I ever see anything like them again, I will claim it all for me. Fair warning. Remember I have been to a Bedouin wedding so I know how to eat with my hands. I wanted to impress my hosts with my cultural ability but after my second handful I noticed they weren’t using their hands – they were just staring at me. I think they were really impressed especially when I wiped my fingers on the back side of the table cloth so the stains wouldn’t show. Only a real international traveler knows these things. We seemed to have been quickly moved to the main course room and having established my internationalness, proceeded to dine with proper utensils and there were a lot of those.
In sum, the dining, conversation and pure enjoyment could only have been better if Maria were with us. By the way, I really did not do all the bad things. I just wanted to see Maria’s reaction after reading this.