Friday, May 7, 2010

They're still there / You can leave the country but the country never leaves you

Last Thursday was 3-D triangle day. The last time I went to the pyramids, I got a free blues concert. This time, there wasn't a concert at the site but there was a free one on the other side of Cairo. It seems like I can only see the pyramids if I get something free in return.

Part of the pyramids experience is dealing with the myriad of touts who want you to ride their camel or buy some figurines. One way to deal with them is to confuse them. When one guy approached us, we ran away screaming. Other times, Anne spoke just in Japanese since they usually couldn't understand that. I would follow up in Arabic and explain that I had no idea what she was saying. Only one person actually questioned this, saying, "Wait, wait, something is not right, if you only speak Arabic and you only speak Japanese, then... how do you talk to each other?" And so, it made for a very enjoyable pyramids outing.

Can you tell it's a tourist site?

Anne really got along with the Sphinx.

This camel did not appreciate being pulled around the whole day.

That evening, it was time for some free music. The US State Department was sponsoring a guy named Kareem Salama to tour around the Middle East. He's billed as the first Muslim American country singer. Straight outta Oklahoma. Cairo was his first stop on the tour and we were treated to a good, ol' fashion' country concert, complete with laptop drumbeats and Qu'ran-inspired verses. I definitely don't listen to enough country music to know what's good and bad but I will say that I didn't connect with the music too much despite me and Kareem having so much in common like being Egyptian-American and human. Still, I definitely enjoyed the concert tremedously, especially when he spoke in this weird formal/colloquial Arabic mix. And when he spoke in English. Possibly my biggest complaint in Cairo is that I just never get enough southern accent.

Kareem Salama and the band.


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