Politically minded people/ people who are mildly aware of their surroundings would note that there has been some
activity going on in Tahrir square. The protests that began yesterday in earnest continue in the form of a sit-in, thus all traffic through the square is completely blocked off and identity cards are required to get through. The political future of Egypt is still very much in flux and it would do well for stakeholders as well as those concerned to pay close attention.
While a sit-in does have its benefits, there is also another option, a nobler option one might say: the sit down, as in sitting down at a café and drinking coffee/sheesha for hours on end (the verb in Arabic is the same). I choose this option, and undertook both activities this very night to the great surprise of no one. I and “the gang” headed to “our” favorite spot, a spot I would even call my “jam,” also known as Boursa since it is an outspreading of open air cafes in the closed off streets of the financial market and the word Boursa means stock exchange in Arabic (I think).
At Boursa, over games of backgammon and dominoes, we discussed topics ranging from American politics to American movies, with varying degrees of success. When discussing the election of 2004, we hit a stumbling block when trying to explain the Electoral College, which remains somewhat of a mystery even in America. American films were a bit easier, though I and friend were proven to be ignorant of many films our country has birthed.
On the way home in a taxi, the driver explained to me that he had to go around Tahrir square and take a different bridge to Doqqi. Not understanding what he said except for the word “bridge” and “Tahrir” and thinking he was asking me which way I wanted to go I said “Whatever you like…whichever is easier,” and then he said, “No, Tahrir Square is closed off. No one can get through.” And again I replied, “I don’t care which way you go…at your ease.” By then we were passing a street that enters Tahrir and I could see it was completely blocked off by cars and there was a big white tent in the middle. As he turned away from the square towards the different bridge I finally realized what was going on as he said, “There is a sit in…the square is completely closed.” And I replied, “Oh….well I guess you can go this way.” And we both chuckled.
Though I told him to take me to the Ambassadors’ Hotel which is very close to where I live, we ended up making the entire trip to the door of my apartment building after a lot of “You can let me out here…well I guess a little further…here’s good…well maybe up ahead a little bit…yeah just turn here…” And we both chuckled again. He tried to refuse payment, but I showed him, and I gave him a 25 cent tip (of borrowed money). I meant it to be more but my skills in mathematics are very limited. This driver more than made up for the loser we had last night. There are good taxi drivers…may the entire world know!
Also, Che Guevara was at Boursa tonight, topping off a long day of post-death revolution making with smooth sheesha smoke.