Saturday, May 26, 2007

In a short time, we're leaving Egypt for the summer. Today, on our way out for a walk, Neghi (the bawaab) informed us he wanted a Casio watch from America. The old man who guards another building came over and tried to translate, because I thought Neghi wanted to know what time we were leaving on Monday, since the word for "time" is the same as the word for "watch," even though when I think back on it, he was clearly saying, "I want a watch." Neghi kept giving me a disapproving look every time I told him we were leaving at one in the morning.

Suddenly, as happens here, we were surrounded by well-meaning Egyptians trying to get Neghi's message across. (This unabashed friendliness is what I will miss the most when I am in America.)

Finally, we understood what he wanted.

Then the old man said Neghi wanted the numbers in Arabic. I mimed something like, "In America? Pshaw!"

Neghi shook his head furiously and pretended he was going to fight the old man as he pointed at his watch.

"Numbers in English," the old man said. Mafish mish queda, we agreed.

Also, there are two lizards on our porch. The enclosed porch. They probably got in through that hole the satellite guy put in our wall. I walked in there to do something and hightailed it out when I caught a glimpse of scaly movement over my head. If you are my mother - thanks a lot - you've done a superb job instilling the heebie-jeebies in me. :)

Last night we watched the lizards get aggressive as they stared at us with bulgy eyes, and we listened to their small chirps - a sound we had all year mistaken for bats or an eerie brand of mockingbird we had just never seen.

I always liked the lizards when they were on the outside porch. I always thought they were really beautiful. We call one of the outside guys Little Jack Bauer after Kiefer's swift yet cunning character on that sort of anti-Middle East show, 24. Aww, we say, as we hang out the wet clothes. So cute!

Inside? Not so much. They're really fast. In the meantime, we leave them be, and they can eat the spiders and roaches and ants that will make their way to the abandoned abode. Eat up! Maybe they'll be fat lounging lizards when we get back, chilling in front of the TV.

I imagine that some memories of our first year in Cairo will become sharper with distance. Or, at least, we will look at them sideways and articulate them with a different kind of clarity. So there will probably be some blog entries. In the meantime, see you later, Cairo!

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