Friday, October 8, 2010


Being a New Yorker, I was almost born jaywalking. Little green men blinking at official crossings are not for me. I just jaywalked my way across Paris (nobody died), but lemme tell ya, kids, Cairo is a whole other story.
Why do we jaywalk? Impatience? For the thrill? Ornereyness? All three for me. I used to jaywalk down the center of the main street of my home town, three blocks at a time.
But six lanes of wildly erratic traffic of ancient, battered, dusty, wobbling cars - I swear, they wobble, staying in a lane apparently isn't an Egyptian thing - really makes me a bit nervous. But it's the only way I could get to the fabled Egyptian Museum (I had a date with Tut), so I practiced my twenty yard sprint on side streets and then made a series of mad dashesacross the fivelane traffic circle. A dozen sets of screaming tires later, I was at the museum, one of the most fabulous, dusty, jam-packed, poorly-maintained, unlabelled, dishevelled collections in the world.
But enough about kulchah, let's talk serious: food. I had ful for dinner, and it wasn't what I thought. It was a lumpy mash of fava beans - love favas! - in a small 5" pita bread. It wasn't bad, but I know we can do better, so  tomorrow I'm testing everything I see, even shawarma.
Wish me luck. I'll probably have to jaywalk again.
POST SCRIPT FROM BEIRUT: Museum buffs would swoon in the modest-but-perfect, pristine, fairly new, completely restored National Museum. Nearly destroyed during the vicious civil war, it is gloriously arranged, with signage in 3 languages including excellent English. Every single item is important (Cairo's is awash with everything they ever dug up all crammed together), best of its kind. The short documentary of the museum's war damage is heart-breakingand should be mandatory in every school in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Lee! I love the blog. :) 2 similar j-walking stories: I tried doing it in Seattle a couple weeks ago and my friend was aghast (apparently they write out tickets for j-walking all the time). Also, last fall we learned the art of j-walking in Hanoi. I don't think there's another way of crossing streets there and it's basically a near-death experience every time.

    Enjoy the ful!


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