Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

They Hold the Keys to Cairo

Resident correspondent Megan Stack of the L.A. Times has the good habit of providing her readers with pieces about the oddities of Cairo. This time it is an expose of the bawabs – doormen – who can be anything from religious policemen to pimps – money typically define the role they choose. Anything else wouldn’t work for them and the many other good, simple and hard working people who constitute the core of this country. Yet, my favourite story is that of a young couple in Cairo who entered a conflict with the keeper at their vacation house. His revenge was to do his morning business underneath their bedroom window. Another anecdote:
His bowab blares Koranic verses from a radio at 3 a.m. and washes cars in a noisy exultation of water at sunrise. When the Williams family forgets to pay his monthly salary, less than $5, he gives a tactful nudge by showing up at the door with gritty, squashed brownies wrapped in newspaper. At first Williams threw the cakes away; then it occurred to him that the bowab was going through his garbage, piece by piece.

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