Thirst & traffic
While alcohol is rarely a problem on Cairo's street, thirst is another reason for traffic jams, especially in summer.
Next to sellers of lemons, flowers, etc. you will also see walking beverage sellers. They are often dressed in white robes with colorful hats, carrying a huge jar containing juice or karkadee on their back, around their neck hangs a little tray, carrying two classes and a plastic pot filled with water to clean the glasses after their use (you guessed right, everyone buying a drink from the seller will drink from the same 2 glasses, and the only way they were cleaned was by quickly rincing them with a bit of water from the plastic pot. Welcome Hepatitis! But this is another topic).
So now imagine a thirsty driver spotting a beverage seller at an intersection, he waves him over, payes the seller who then bends over so that the beverage can flow through a long opening on top of the jar into one of the two glasses. The full glass is handed over to the driver, who has to slam down the content as fast as he can and give back the glass to the seller before driving on again. Question of the year: how many cars have gathered up behind that driver, furious and honking again, in this process?
Yesterday I had a taxi driver complaining about the hot weather. In the middle of a tiny street, he sudently stops and shouts out of his window to one of the many doormen sitting in front of "their" building that he is thirsty. Apart from two cars already lining up behind us nothing happens, so he shouts again "water, ya basha (polite form to address someone on the street)", "water!". ... 5 cars behind us...The doorman finally comes running with a cooled bottle of water...honking and shouting.... my taxi driver takes the bottel, drinks about one third and gives it back to the doorman: "thanks, I was thirsty" ... I can not count the amount of cars caught behind us anymore.... The driver waves with his hand in a very Egyptian "Malesh" (a combination of sorry and get over it) and drives on. Later he shows me that he had an own bottle filled with water "but this one is warm, I wanted some cold water".