I went back to the houseboat yesterday in order to witness a total eclipse of the moon happening over the Nile. Even without the eclipse, the view from the houseboat at night is awesome since you can see the cityscape reflected in a body of water, exactly the kind of view that seems to have pleased humans the world over for millenia. It was a little hard to appreciate the rarity of the event since it seemed somewhat anti-climactic.The entire evening centered around the moon disappearing completely and thus looking like the sky does 70 percent of the time at night. Maybe it would have been more interesting had we been out in the country somewhere where the pollution didn’t fog up the view so much.
Even though the eclipse only happens once every sixty years or something, I found the houseboat community to be more interesting.
It is made up entirely out of foreigners, and at one point, everyone was popping out on their balconies and talking to one another just like we were in some kind of sitcom. The guy to the right and below my friends apartment came out in his wifebeater and beer belly and informed us about the mechanics of a lunar eclipse as if we were troglodytes just as the chipper British lady living next door appeared on her balcony-separated from friend’s balcony by only a screen- and began eating her dinner, which smelled delicious. According to what she said, it was just something she whipped up. The people on the left side were all on their roof and calling us to come over to hang out. For a reason that remains unknown, they had a ridiculously strong green laser that they were making good use of by shining it everywhere. I’m sure there were tons of fish blinded that night in the nile not to mention humans living in apartments across the way.
Eventually we did go over to his neighbors and sit on their roof and watch the moon finish disappearing and then slowly reappear. Expat meetings like that are always a little bizarre: everyone’s there for a different purpose and the only real similarity between all of us is that we all happen to not be from Egypt. In fact, in these houseboats and in many upper tier apartment buildings, Egyptians are completely prohibited. I have yet to understand all the reasons for this, but it appears that there is a significant amount of racism propogated by Egyptians onto Egyptians themselves, and so foreigners are preferred tenants oftentimes with a specific clause that there will be no Egyptian guests, though sometimes this only applies to Egyptian men. We’re learning about Egyptian tourism in my Egyptian dialect class, and apparently foreigners are preferred in hotels not only because they can usually pay more but also because Egyptians order too much food and have too many children that mess everything up. It’s interesting hearing from my Egyptian dialect teacher the reasons why Egyptians are generally not as welcome in some hotels….the investigation goes on.
Weekend now=more time for blogging.