Monday, July 14, 2008

An Anniversary and a Closing

I nearly missed it!

A year ago yesterday, I arrived back in Cairo for my last three-month stint at my company's Cairo office (recently closed).

I wouldn't have noticed at all, but I'd just finished "Out of Egypt," a rich, atmospheric tale of growing up Jewish in Alexandria.

"I wonder if I could write something that beautiful, so much a valentine to Egypt," I thought. I started typing, looked back at my blog stories from a year ago, and noticed that it was the one-year anniversary of my last trip over.

I really like those blog stories. There was no shortage of material. I was inspired. I think I can do this.

My attempt at an Egypt valentine didn't end up sounding right last night. I was tired, having just gotten back from an art opening with Roberta, and from watching Swedish songwriter Anna Ternheim perform the night before.

But I'll try again.

    This morning, the haze of the city was nearly tangible. I've been in Cairo not quite a week, but I'm already accustomed to the view from my balcony. The legendary air pollution gives the skyline the look of a city bathed in a steam bath. But it isn't humidity. It's fumes from industrial operations, and leaded auto emissions. Carbon dioxide. Unspecificed "particulate matter." Taxi farts.

    It's Friday--the weekend here. I dropped off my laundry and then waded through the air to get an iced coffee. There's a slight breeze but not enough to lift the haze. I hurried back to my room. It's a good day to use the hotel's air conditioning.

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