Sunday, 4 April 2010

Walk Like an Egyptian

I have often mentioned on this blog how I hate being stereotyped. In particular, I hate being stereotyped as an Israeli/Jew, with most people immediately inferring that I have something against Arabs. For a change, I thought I'd talk about what took place in a case where no stereotyping took place, just so you can see how nice things can be when people give other people a chance to be themselves.

Last week we sold our previous master bed on eBay, having bought a new one to replace it. The bed was picked up by a guy who, as usual, was asking me where I'm from. I told him I'm from Israel, and it turned out he's from Egypt.
Normally, and sadly, that could have been the end of the dialog with the bed changing hands in a cold manner. Not in this case, though: having read about Egypt, its culture and its history, I find the place fascinating. So instead of a cold war, what started was a fascinating dialog.
We talked about Alexandria, Cairo, and the hustle and bustle of the Cairo way of life. We talked about the writings of Naguib Mahfouz and we discussed whether the Western way of keeping to oneself is really better than the Egyptian way of everyone knowing everything about everyone on their street. It was interesting; we both enjoyed the conversation, and I even got a movie recommendation to boot (Cairo Time, to be reviewed shortly).
I got more than I bargained for with this eBay transaction.

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