The high from her rebellious escape soon wears off as Jasmine becomes stuck in traffic on the way to the city. Sitting on the highway, her tummy rumbles and the possible hour and a half of lurching before her doesn’t bode well for the meal situation. She had wanted room to run and prance and frolick, but now she can barely slam her high heeled snake skin boots to the gas for a split second before she has to switch to the brakes again. What will it take to be free?
After an hour of alternating between creeping and sprinting, Jasmine realizes it might be better to explore this city of hers on foot, the way many Cairenes do. This new idea is intimately related with the fact she totaled her father’s car in a bizarre car accident that left her completely unharmed, and a troupe of mimes in either a state of ecstasy or extreme pain. She bribed all the necessary people and walked away from the smoking, semi-silent mess unscathed, but confused. Where was she?
As she gazes around, cars whizzing by, she only sees an endless horizon of mosques, billboards, more highways, and brown buildings. Is this the people’s Cairo? Carless and clueless, she loiters on the side of the highway like an orphan child until a white taxi pulls up and announces itself: “Taxi?” Having never traveled by herself before, Jasmine is puzzled. What does this common person want? The taxi driver says again, more insistently, “Taxi??”
Finally, she understands and accepts this knave’s services, entering the back of the car and saying she wants to go to “somewhere common, where the people are.” The taxi driver is confused by this. Is this some kind of game? Is it a trick? Is she threatening him? Insulting him?
But no, she really is just that oblivious. Her stomach still growling, she states again that she just wants to go where “normal people live; a people place.” After repeating the word people a few times, the taxi driver finally gets an idea. He’s going to take her to the peopleyiest place all, the place where the popolo congregate, and the public gathers, a place where the common folk thrive and your average Mohammad tells jokes to his grandkids.
“Shubra it is” he says….and off they go.
(to be continued….)