Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Ahwa

Being at many crowded ahwas, I've learned that in order to get any service, you have to make yourself heard. Unless you're at a fancy place (and even then), the most effective and efficient way of getting what you want is by yelling. One quirk about male Egyptians is that when they address each other, they start out with things like "O president!" or "O engineer!" Basically, you are elevating the person you're talking to in a slightly-mocking way. So, here's a few titles you can shout out to get what you want, whether you're at an ahwa or you're just trying to get someone's attention.

basha - Comes from Turkish for Pasha, a title for high-ranking officials
bash mohandis - Engineer
bey - Short for basha
brince - Prince
captain - Captain
hagg - One who completes the Hajj
mo'allem - Teacher
nigum -
ostaz - Professor
rieys - President
yusta -
Turkish for something

And here's me yelling them out for your listening pleasure:


  1. this sounds surprisingly like a crazy drunk old irish man shouting out a poem he wrote

  2. thank you for the Arabic lesson. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will find some way to use. After all, half of the taxi drivers and people selling food and drinks on the street in New York City speak Arabic.