…is that it has drinkable water and hot showers and everything you could want to buy. There are crepes
and high prices, wi-fi and western food. And still, it is not enough for some.
But then, it is still Greece, the modern-day Sick Man of Europe. And as one econ professor always reminded us, Greece is only considered European as long as it suits the Great White West. I feel funny just calling it Europe. Now that Greece has become inconvenient (yet again), there are rumblings of amending the Schengen Agreement to allow the “temporary” removal of states, for the “protection of the integrity” of the alliance. Sounds an awful lot like the precursor to Children of Men to me, especially the quotes in the FT article. But still, I can’t wait to see what this means for all things NATO, EU, Eurozone and Schengen. Not to mention to study abroad ramifications!
So there is that other part of Greece. That part that has me missing Zamalek every day. I see Cairo everywhere, and when I look out on my balcony I search for the minarets and nautical nightclubs that punctuate the Nile. My room and hotel even look like el fondoq flamenco, the hotel I called home for most of my six weeks there.
Stray cats and dogs wander freely, though not in such great numbers (or as such a great nuisance) as in al Qahira. But there is that dustiness that settles over everything, and the heft to most of the infrastructure that gives one the feeling that anything thin or aesthetically appealing would simply take too much time. I find the same type of pasta that populates koshery, and (at least in our group) one never has to go far to find an Arab or hear in’shallah.
Unlike Cairo, I garner no one’s attention, the streets are not so overwhelmingly full by all demographics until 5am, and there is a general lack of worry for one’s safety. Of course, the late-night crowds (and their chronological breadth) are still impressive compared to the states, and meals are still late, it’s just nothing compared to Cairo.
For now, I’m, content to explore this city so reminiscent of Alexandria. Little wonder: it is named for The Great’s half-sister, and this Ottoman/Roman mix was no doubt an inspiration for Iskandriyya’s ambience.