About Egypt, people are writing all the time, with its good and bad , thousands of pages about an ancient country , about its pharaohs and its treasures .What about nowadays? How is Egypt today? How are the people living on the shores of the Mediterranean, right here in top of the African world? Well, you will find 2 major opinions: one saying that Egypt is lost , dirty and way too much poor and other saying that Egypt still has its magic. I will not judge any opinion but I will do say mine with open heart.
I am a foreigner here in Alexandria but I do not feel like one. The first moment I put my foot on this land I felt a warm embrace coming from the sand. The first moment I breathe the air of this country I had a funny feeling that this air is giving me some magic aura. The first time I visited Egypt was for a short period, just 20 days that passed like wind. Every day was a new feeling, I felt dizzy and overwhelmed by all I was seeing, touching, doing or even eating. When I came back to Romania I felt like a stranger, my heart remained in Egypt, my thoughts were in Egypt, my everything was crying to be back in Egypt as soon as possible. And so I did and I do not regret the step I made!
I agree Alexandria is not what was before, that cosmopolitan city where you could find the aristocrats of the past century, the poets and artists of all kinds , Greeks, British etc. but still Alexandria has its magic. There are no more Pharaohs , there is no Aladdin and his flying carpet , no genie from the magic lamp and no Scheherazade but still I feel the stories all around me , I hear their echo and I live the 1001 nights from the tales.
Why I love Alexandria that much ?! I always told people that I like it because here I found peace , peace of mind and peace of soul. And most of all I feel free , free in a country that most of people say the woman is a slave walking 2 steps behind her husband or closed between 4 walls . Where can be much better then the place you will feel comfortable, happy , loved and precious? The Egyptians welcomed me and received me with open arms, always with a smile and a marhaban ( welcome ) and ahlan wa sahlan on their lips. This ahlan wa sahlan it is in essence opening up the door of becoming part of one’s family and Egyptians are really like that , opening their door and offering you what they have best. Even most of them are poor or having a medium level of life they never forget to smile and make you feel special. From the doorman to the boy beach they are all very polite even you are giving them a small amount of money ( bacshish ) or not. The fact that you will greet them in their own way with a simple salam aleykom ( peace be with you ) that will be enough for them. Each building has a doorman and a service woman who usually are good for all : fixing stuff in the house or doing the shopping for you. Old people who can’t walk much or even who don’t like to go out , they hang on their balconies a bucket tight with a rope where the doorman is putting the groceries. From your balcony you can buy your vegetables and fruits , you can buy your morning milk , your newspaper or fill your gas tank.
Every morning sellers are passing by with their donkeys and their carts full of fresh products. Just put your money in the bucket and the bucket will come back to you full of your requested products. Some will say this is call laziness I call it just a way of living almost like a custom. Depends how you want to take the life , how you want to see it . I prefer to see it exactly like it is and make the best of it. If you don’t want to use a bucket over your balcony that’s fine too , you can anytime go to the market and buy what you need. And there is another life , another style and another murmur of the street. In Romania I was going to nice and pretty vegetables and fruits market but I was not having any satisfaction. The Romanian sellers were slapping your hand if you were taking the best apples from their table and you were not allowed to pick . What about the Egyptians sellers? The Egyptians from the market place are on my taste . Some will say what a bad taste! But I wouldn’t care less and let me tell you why! The Egyptians are inviting you to buy by offering you a bag or basket and they tell you to pick whatever you like. You can smell , touch and even taste what you buy and most of all in the end you can even negotiate a little. And their products are always fresh despite the fact that yes is true , his cart and hands are dirty . So what ? You reach home and you wash well your apples or unpeel your bananas. I prefer it million times !
Egypt is not pink but neither black , Egypt is full of colors but once again depends on how you wish to see it . I see it with my soul as eyes can be deceiving me !
– to be continued –
This article about life in Egypt is dedicated to my friends from the amateurs photographs group ” Project 365″ .