The quality of my life in Cairo just increased ten-fold: I found Dutch peanut butter at the local supermarket. Peanut butter is a staple in my daily diet and this is infinitely better than that oily American excuse for peanut butter I have been getting by with up to now.
The Egyptian cyber sphere nearly exploded today over an article written by Egyptian writer Mona El-Tahawy on the treatment of women in the Middle East, provocatively titled 'Why do they hate us?'.
To me the article merely seems to state the obvious ('woman are second class citizens in the Middle East') and I am fairly disappointed it doesn't offer a broader solution than 'be vocal and demand your rights'.
There was a pretty serious train crash in Amsterdam when I was there. That same evening, when we were on our way back from another city by train, we met a train driver who told us all about the accident.
For some reason the conversation turned to people getting hit by trains and how that is obviously very traumatising for the driver. 'I imagine it is even worse for the firemen who have to come clean it up', the driver added.
It can be very challenging communicating with people when
you only barely speak each other’s languages. At the language institute, this
is common day reality with the students in the lower levels. It can lead to
some pretty odd conversations.
I was doing exams with my lower level students and with one
of them Babylon
Yeah, you read that right: blowsex. No, I have no idea what that is either.
Every time I walk home from work after ten pm, there is this car park attendant that asks me about it. "Hey, pssst! Blowsex?"
I find this very confusing, not only because I am unfamiliar with the actual meaning of the word, but also because of his phrasing.
Does he want it from me, or is he offering it to me? Is he inquiring where he might obtain it? Or maybe he knows I teach English and is he merely asking me for a definition?
I know the easiest thing would be to just ask him what it means next time I see him, but I'm shy around strangers and I don't want to come across as stupid. It might be one of those hip Cairo things only the in-crowd expats know about. Like boat parties and alcohol hook-ups.
I'm afraid to google it, mainly because it has the word sex in it (I don't want to get lost in the tripleX-www), but if any of you can muster up the courage and find something interesting, let me know.