Friday, March 28, 2008

Sounds On the Street Below

It is my first morning in Cairo and I am exhausted, after taking a long flight from New York via Zurich to get here.

I am staying in a tired section of Cairo which feebly hints of a glorious and glamorous past.
The hotel room I have spent the night has no pretensions whatsoever.
The other occupants who I am sharing the room with tell me, that at least it is superior to the room they had prior to it. I shudder at
that possibility.

The morning calm is suddenly shattered by shouts coming up from the street below.
I am instantly compelled to become a voyeur but can't make out what if anything has taken place to disturb the peace
I see a swirl and sway of a large group of men.
Sides have been taken, but I cannot tell for sure for whom.

There are loud voices and angry gestures but I have seen no violence.

There is an obvious hint though that one man has received a blow to his stomach.
Practically all are appealing for calm. One angry man and his small group are held

A woman comes to the aid of the afflicted man and tries to give him comfort.
A wife? A sister? Who can tell?

I can barely hear the words rushing up from the street even if I could understand Arabic.

The aggrieved man is brought to a car that is
rushed to the curb and sits inside as though
he is about to be whisked away for treatment.

Instead of rushing off to the hospital he is brought a cup of mint tea carried to him on a silver platter.
Soon life on busy Amin El Dein street returns to normal. Once again it is peaceful and serene. It whispers again sweet dreams off its past. It asks us not to dwell too long on noises, that are so brief, they almost cannot be heard.

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