Day: January 24, 2010

An Ode to Egypt

Aswan Photo credits: Nadia El-Awady

On Sunday, January 24, 2010, Jordanian tweeps started the #Top50JO hashtag. I happened to catch them when they had just started. I was sitting in a bank waiting for my turn to come. My number was 394 and they were only at 320. I was bored and tweeting was a relief from watching the numbers slowly go by. So I started the #Top50EG hashtag that took off like wildfire!

#Top50EG got me remembering everything I love about Egypt. And here I share some of my own favorite #Top50EG tweets (plus a very few retweets…it would have been impossible to include everything I retweeted or everything I liked in the hashtag…there were so many!):

Zaranik Protectorate Photo credit: Nadia El-Awady

On top of Mt St Katherine, Sinai

• waking up to Um Kolthom on shop radios in the morning
• walking along the Nile corniche on a summer evening while eating tirmis
• joking around with the guy standing next to u at the bus stop as if he’s an old pal
• getting a punctured car tire, going to side of road and KNOWING some1 will stop to be your hero
• stuffed grape vine & cabbage leaves, basbosa and kunafa, macaroni with bachemel sauce
• the smile on an egyptian’s face & the joke on his tongue no matter how hard things get
• mountain climbing and sandbuggying in Sinai, sandboarding on dunes of Western desert
• taking a felucca for an hour down the nile with a loved one
• watching Michael Jackson’s This Is It in Cairo’s most expensive cinema with @arwasm being only ones dancin & clappin with ever song
• horseback riding behind the pyramids at sunset
• shay filkhamseena wi sandwich foul min awsakh wa7id bita3 foul filmanyal. Yah. Zaman wallah!
• Naguib Mahfouz Restaurant in Khan Elkhalili; best food ON EARTH!
• grown men & women singing old Egyptian songs whenever they’re together in other countries
• the typical Egyptian “give me your hand” whenever two ppl find something to be really hilarious
• hibiscus, tamarind, and licorice drinks. Mint tea, the smell of bun mi7awig
• Listening to BBC Arabic on the radio while going to work in the morning
• Laughing along with Safi on NileFM radio returning from work in the evening
• getting the latest rumors from friends @MohammedY @arwasm @marwame about our previous workplace ;-)
• bumping into friends EVERY time u go out and no matter where u go in the city of 18 million. We’re all eachothers peeps
• Going crazy on the streets with complete strangers when Egypt wins an important football match
• Listening to parents and grandparents bitch about things friends and family did 50 yrs ago
• eating bread and salt with someone makes u blood brothers till the day u die
• making tons of new Egyptian friends on twitter and bitching with them about things we DONT like about Egypt!
• Being able to depend on the doorman to run errands for you at any hour of the day or night
• ALWAYS finding a shop open at 2am when u just HAVE TO buy eggs to bake a cake
• yelling at the car in front of me becuz he left 2 cm of space (a lot) between him & car infront in a traffic jam
• How Egyptians will never stop singing the jingles to old TV ads
• Memories of friends & families gathering around Tv set in ramadan to watch fawazeer Nelly (a christian actress)
• the almost completely empty streets of normally bustling Cairo after maghrib call in Ramadan
• driving in cairo on a friday morning
• the way everyone runs to the windows and balconies to watch a good street fight
• The way Egyptian women will take off their shoe/slipper to hit anyone who offends her with it. Egyptian women rock!
• going to sakiat elsawy to watch Wist Albalad with hundreds of crazy young people
• Egyptian hand signs for such things as “be patient” and “you just wait till i catch you”
• Fiteer mshaltit! A VERY fatty layered pastry made in the countryside that melts in ur mouth!
• The typical answer when you ask the shop guy how much something is: its on me!
• Young women in long flowing colorful dresses swaying along irrigation canals with water jugs on their heads. Sad but beautiful
• Knowing how to sustain a family of six on 2 gallons of water when it and the electricity r out a full day
• That Egyptians call Egypt the Mother of the World
• LOVE IT RT @drnemovet the only nation with hashtag #A7A on twitter …. non-egyptians can’t get what it means :P
• RT @Molokhia_: Egypt: the only place where you can get your ironing done at midnight
• RT @YasserAhmad: #Top50EG homeless people makes money than most of other jobs!
• RT @YasserAhmad: #Top50EG we are the only nation on earth that calls the toilet “Relaxation Home”.
• RT @IbrahmAbdelghny: #Top50EG “the tea”,”the sweet” means give me a tip ,LOL
• When you tell someone you like what they’re wearing you’ll always get: “please take it”! It’s a lie, but an endearing one :-)
• تحيا الشطافة! RT @MohammedY TOTALLY AGREED THERE! RT @EngyG: #Top50EG El SHATTAFA forever! ¬/
• only country where women have the right to their own “special” line even though we are a people who have no comprehension of lines!
• we still call Cairo the city of 1000 Minarets even after our population – and thus minaret – explosion
• listening to all the neighborhood mosques calling to prayer at once in

Algorna Algadeema, Luxor Photo credits: Nadia El-Awady

 different voices and tones
• RT @marwame: #Top50EG taxis with baby shoes hanging from the bottom of the car
• our agility in jumping from one rock to the other when sewage completely blocks the streets!
• we are absolutely convinced we r experts at anything we put our minds to – including other peoples’ business!
• vendors peddling produce on a cart in the neighborhood by calling out to residents in a completely incomprehensible language
• that we still wrap libb, termis and meat in torn out pages from old school books
• we laugh a hearty laugh ha3 ha3 ha333
• True! RT @2insana أيووون RT: @EmanHashim: #Top50EG any pair of sneakers is Cotshy, any cooking cubes is Magi, and any solvent is clor.
• Wives are called the government RT @2insana #Top50EG الزوجة اسمها الحكومة .. أيون .. انا الحكومة نيهاهاهاهاها
• RT @abdelrahman_gf: #Top50EG where u have ADSL internet connection and no water for a whole day!!
• RT @EmanHashim: #Top50EG girls get totally dressed up and put make up to go to the supermarket
• RT @EmanHashim: #Top50EG 5 guys standing around a car in front of a kosh is actually a real something to do!
• we pride ourselves as having the smartest kids in the world (until age 4 when lead poisoning starts to kick in)
• it’s not totally unacceptable to eat with your hands at some of our better restaurants
• our media will endlessly bitch about other countries but on the ground if we meet a foreigner on the street ur our brother/sister
• you’re only a “real” Egyptian if half your tea cup is filled with sugar
• we’ll bitch endlessly that cars slow down to watch an accident thus creating a bottleneck, but when we get there we slow down too
• within any 0.5km radius youll find a plumber, electrician, carpenter, tailor, curtain maker, a cotton mattress filler, shoe & suitcase fixer, butcher, poultry shop, fruit & veggie market
• RT @Molokhia_: where no one says: ‘I don’t know
• RT @EmanHashim: #Top50EG when saying about a lady she’s samra has to be followed by “bas 7elwa!”
• where green and yellow put together are moda
• RT @arwasm: Where your hospitality is measured by how much you shove food down your guest’s throat.
• watching Egyptian children laughing and singing ادي ظهرك للترعة while peeing directly into it
• feeling safe in knowing that Egyptians will NEVER forget the full lyrics to the Riri ad from 30 years ago
• the sound of running water in the late afternoon as shop owners hose down the streets
• the clink clank sound that signifies the gas cylinder guy is in the neighborhood
• I’ll say this again and again: Fawazeer Nelly, Fawazeer Nelly, Fawazeer Nelly!
• Sameer Ghanem’s Ibn fatouta; but second in line after Fawazeer Nelly
• being able to jump on a plane anytime to visit the awesome #Top50JO guys without needing a visa!!
• Egyptians can recite from memory every single line in plays that ran from the 60s – 80s.
• How the #Top50EG R all hilariously funny as would expect from Egyptians while the #Top50JO R actually songs in love of Jordan :)
• in the village you can leave the kids roam free because no matter where they go ppl will know whose kids they are
• RT @marwame: #Top50EG the stereotype of the govenment employees who read newspapers and shell peas in their in offices all day long.
• Busara, pickled eggplant, salty cheese with watermelon!
• What are your #Top50EG TV shows? Fawazeer Nelly comes to mind here!
• watching the late Mustafa Mahmoud’s show as a family and continuously saying Subhan Allah along with him
• RT @marwame: #Top50EG how some people pronounce the “t” as “ch”, ya ukhchi
• Molokhia_: @NadiaE 3ammo fouad! #top50EG tv shows
• on Egyptian women: huggable, tough, hard-headed, rulers of their household
• The question: would you like to drink your tea in a glass or a mug? LOOOOL!
• The general understanding between you and the police that you can park your car in the 2nd row as long as you give the police a tip
• women will tell you your baby is ugly so you don’t think they’re giving it the evil eye if they say something nice
• RT @AFakahany: #Top50EG The fact that all Egyptian store extra plastic bags under their bed mattress..
• RT @YasserAhmad: #Top50EG we don’t believe in the clock, our timing is always +13275498GMT
• arwasm: @NadiaE @rachidH and the bloody hand prints on walls
• How all Egyptian women I know have a crush on the whole male Lebanese population