Sunday, February 10, 2008

The weather was like spring today. The sweater-sporting Egyptians might not say that, but, as I rode back to Zamalek this afternoon in the duct-taped back seat of a cab, I could see the blue sky and smell something...fresh? I walked to Metro, the Western-style grocery store located in the basement of an otherwise dilapidated mall. On the way, I said hi to a bawaab who perpetually parks it in a chair in front of his building. A woman in an abaya was walking in the street. Her companion was a toddler in a torn green sweater who appeared to be too far from her grasp. The boy swerved in front of a car, which slowed before it could hit him. The woman chastised the boy and yanked him closer, then promptly let him go as another string of cars passed.

Across the street from Metro is a new Cinnabon cafe.

I got a chunk of cheddar from the Metro deli. The deli guy who grabbed the block of cheese was being watched by another man in a pin-striped shirt. Deli Guy kept switching his plastic gloves under the critical eye of Pin-Stripe. It's getting a little too clean in there - there have of late been several managerial types lingering and analyzing the situation in the store. Thankfully, a fly egregiously sipped at another wheel of cheese, and no one seemed to mind, and that seemed much better than the thought of ever entering the Cinnabon across the street. You know it's time to flee when the Cinnabon comes to roost.

After leaving Metro, I saw the toddler with the torn green sweater sitting against the wall of the building and chewing on a hunk of bread too big for his mouth. The woman in the abaya was there, too, and a strangely quiet baby had materialized in her arms, and she held out her hands and pleaded for money. A corner store had exploded onto the curb with a giant pink gorilla on top of a stack stuff. Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! I nodded to the bawaab, still sitting in his chair. He tapped a folded newspaper against his shoulder.


Writing Sisu said...

Great post!

And you're a better expat than I ever was. It's appalling, I know, but when I lived in Thailand, I treated myself to (prepare to be horrified) Pizza Hut. And in Korea, we would sometimes go to Outback Steakhouse--which is a puzzle since I'm a vegetarian. (Okay, I'm not really puzzled. It was the only show in town with rye bread.)

a said...

Hold it, expat. We have definitely been known to order Domino's in a pinch.

kate said...

I love the descriptions in this post, A. I can see that little boy and his large hunk of bread. Wishing we could visit and get away from all this cold. Alas, were staying put until I deliver this baby (who they say is fine)!

Bryan said...

Well, Kate, as long as that's not a "cinnabon" you've got in the oven, they might welcome you. (rimshot, please!)

Writing Sisu said...

Happy Birthday to J!!!

I would sing the Shoney's B-day song--If I were in Egypt.