Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Desert Road

I'm tired. But so much happened on this Cairo-Alexandria desert road trip and back that I thought it would be nice to make a comeback with the details while they are still fresh in my mind.
about 10 minutes after we passed the rest stop near a detour where street vendors usually stand, we were met by a welcome party of Mohamed Morsy supporters.
On one side of the road were old men, young men and little boys wearing red t shirts with Morsy's face on it, hats with his name on it, waving flags with his party logo and many holding flyers while standing in the middle of the highway to give us these flyers. It was a carnival and they were clapping and had big smiles on their face. For a moment I thought where are the women? I just had to turn my head and there they were on the other side of the road with their fluttering veils (mostly white), the red flags and the very same smiles. Their excitement increased when they saw me taking pictures.
They are smart, their tactics really reach people in the streets. This is what I thought when I saw the campaigners but my conversations with people in Alexandria proved otherwise. I spoke to my manicurist who complained of lack of ethics and people's reluctance to spend money. She blamed it on the revolution. Then she said the results will come after a complete cleansing of the system, cleaning the roots of the problem. She stood in the election booth as an observer after being paid 500 le by freedom and justice party just to help direct people to the right room. When asked who she will vote for she said Amr Moussa.
I also spoke to our very well read and well educated driver who said he personally likes Hisham El Bastaweesy's plan and the people in his area he says are going for Moussa. "Why?" I asked him. He said when the brotherhood broke all those promises by putting forward Al Shater for president then replacing him with Morsy when he was disqualified they lost the people's trust.
I went to a hospital to visit my father in law and in the reception hall as I waited for the elevator the scattered conversations were all on the elections. The names I heard spoken were Hamdeen Sabbahy and Amr Moussa. One woman was saying, "Hamdeen Sabbahy wa7ed mennena," he's one of us.
So the trip finished and we were on our way back to Cairo when at the Desert Road Toll station the police were standing and two of the security forces in their black uniform were right there at the gate with their big guns in their hands and a very messily sewn patch on their chest of what is supposed to be the Egyptian flag, except that the flag was black on top white in the middle with the falcon and red on the bottom. It was printed upside down. I was so shocked I couldnt get my camera out on time to take a picture. We told them it was upside down they laughed, first said we're sorry we'll fix it and then jokingly said they changed it after the revolution. We passed them and then stopped at what appeared to be a superior to tell him that its a disgrace they would have the flags on upside down, he knew the mistake was there and dismissed it as a printing error, then said, "do you have ur papers." In a move to show us he is still in power.
We then took the road and reached Cairo where we stopped at an Emirate Misr gas station to get food. A new jeep wrangler was parked next to us. It's occupants were a bunch of young women, I'm guessing early 20's. They were dressed in beautiful clean clothes, nicely pressed veils that match their accessories, their longchamp bags, simple diamond rings on their perfectly manicured nails. They were the image of upper class well educated young women having a good time. One of those young women had the car door open and found a tissue on her seat she did not want, with her friend standing outside she looked at her and then threw the tissue on the floor at the gas station. An act of ignorance, poor upbringing and outright filth. I opened my window and asked her to give me what she threw on the floor so I can throw it in the garbage that was about 50 centimeters from our cars and she picked it up gave me a dirty look and actually gave it to me instead of throwing it in the garbage.
So I went and threw it out.