After HOT we got WET.... beginning of this week heavy rain fell in Cairo for about 40 minutes.... enough to plunge the city into chaos.Big rain drops coming from the grey sky, just like "nice november rain in Bremen". When you live in Bremen you are used to it, but when you live in Cairo it is quite strange. The canalisation here, not built for any rain whatsoever, seemed to find it "strange" too and simply refused to take in the water that had came down. This resulted in 3 days lasting, ankle high puddles a bit everywhere in town.In addition to that, streets are as slippery as if they were covered with ice. Oh yes, Cairo dust, plus the remains of the sandstorm mixed with rain is the perfect recipe for lovely, slimey, slippery mud. I bet you could do some nice cross country skiing here.If you remember my little report from the storm in Dahab, I was saying that buildings there were not built for rain.... well turns out that buildings in Cairo are not either. Ok, the walls don't crack, but you can find funny contructions where there is no ceiling above the staircases. Which means the water runs down the walls, infilters in the ceiling and then...PENG.... the Gypsum moldings come down.So should you be in Cairo during a rainy day, don't forget the skis and the umbrella for outside and the helmet for inside ;-)PS. While writing these few lines, it started raining again. So I am looking forward to some more good fun!
While some of you still suffer of frozen noses and plenty of snow, we had exactly 3 lovely days of spring before summer broke out in Cairo: bye bye winter coats, bye bye pullovers.... with 35 C, it is time to think again what to wear, which allows you to be "decently covered" and at the same time will not make you die of heat.... I think I'll go cotton-shirt-shopping soon ;-)
It happened! After almost 28 years without any problems in this regard, my wallet got stolen a couple of days ago. I had German, French and Egyptian credit cards in it... I let you guess which one took the longest to be blocked ;-) After a first shock, I was over it quite fast, also because all of my friends here were lovely, helping me out, and even taking me along to the "dark side" of downtown to see if I could recognise the thief in one of the remote cafes hidden in underground tunnels or gloomy back yards... Sherlock Kolbe! Finally I had to go to the police station to get a report for my insurance and there.... Sorry! You'll get the details soon in your personal email inbox ;-)
Well, now that we had a laugh about Egyptian pronounciation of certain English words, I have to be fair and tell you about my difficulties with the Egyptian language.... the best example would be the shoes, sorry juice! yes I also had a lot of problems with this word in arabic: "assir". Here the "a" is pronounced deeper in the throat than the German "a". In the beginning I did not pay that much attention to this, as I thought, minor detail and ordered self confident an "assir burtuan". This created the opportunitiy for my Egyptian friends to burst out laughing.... this, for me still tiny, difference of pronouncing the "a" caused me not to order an orange juice as intended, but an orange war prisoner :-s
Another, for me almost not audible, difference in pronounciation is the doubling of certain consonants. Again tiny for my ear, but of HUGE importance in sense. Very easily a pigeon ("hamam") can become a toilet/bathroom ("hammam"), which can cause a lot of confusion when you are in a restaurant and try to order the Egyptian delicacy.
Bon apetit ;-)
Today I thought I would try the Egyptian version of burger and fries. So I went to the local fastfood restaurant which is specialized in kebab, shawarma, koshary, foul and falafel sandwiches... timidly I asked for a hamburger... "beef burger?" was the answer. Yes, I forgot that these things have a slightly different name here, just to make sure that there is no ham, e.g. pork meat involved. Yes, a beef burger and some fries? the cashier nodded. So far so good!
Then he asked me, though: Would you like to have some shoes? I start laughing, thinking it is one of the Egyptian jokes (which I, I have to admit, still not always understand). The man looks a bit puzzeled and repeats with a very serious face: "shoes?", now i am the one looking puzzeled "shoes????" "yes shoes" the man starts waving his hands obviously trying to find another way to tell me what he is suggesting me to order.
At this moment his colleague comes to help: "yes shoes, you want shoes?" My eyebrows rise, my forehead rinkles..... but I still dont understand.
Then the man's face looks more concentrated and out of his mouth comes a "Dshoes?" ... I start smiling.... "juice?, no thanks, no juice".
For one moment I had forgotten that it is extremly difficult for Egyptians to pronounce two consonants one after another, so they either leave one out or they put a vowel in between the two consonants, so we have nice things like sequare, belastic (note the "p" does not exist in arabic and is often replaced by a more convenient "b"), belease, ice caream, felight, shoke, shanuary, etc.... and of course shoes, which is liquid and served in a glas ;-)