Friday, May 07, 2010
A Better Country
Having received my new smaller sized passport from the officer in charge, I headed out. On the way out, whilst holding my passport and stopping to place it in my backpack, I heard a voice saying, "Don't do it."
I looked to my left and I saw a young man dressed in a suit with the tie undone and loosely hanging around his open shirt. He was sitting in the driving seat of an old faded red 4x4 Lada, preparing to start the engine and back out into the street.
"Excuse me?" I said.
"Don't do it," he repeated, "don't leave the country."
That's one of the things I enjoy about Cairo, you can strike up a conversation of this type.
"El balad dee ahsan men gairha" he said. (This country is better than others)
"Is that right?" I said, "I think it depends on the country you're comparing it to."
"You're right about that," he said.
"Where have you been or where are you going?"
He said, "I haven't been anywhere and I'm not going anywhere."
"Then how do you know that this country is better than others?" I asked.
He replied, "I suppose there must be things here better than others."
"Well, I've been to many other places. Don't be fooled into thinking that everything here is better than anywhere else," I said.
"You're right, to be honest, 90% of everything in this country is unbearable."