For my third post of the series I will be exposing you to the different characters you might meet should you visit Cairo.
The first and funniest is:
Puthy Cat – The Office Boy
Imagine a minuscule man, not quite a midget, but smaller than your average man. He is compact and light on his feet. He prances around the office picking up trash and taking orders for drinks.
“Tithlabi 7aga othtatha Eleena?” Translation: Would you like to drink anything Miss Eleena, with a LITHP! He talks like sylvester so a colleague dubbed him the ever so fitting title of “Puthy cat”.
Some people believe that the black hole in the office that has all our lost pens and stationary, is in fact him.
Some days we spend up to 15 minutes outside the office door ringing the door bell. Why? He has his earphones in and has locked himself in the kitchen. One of these days I will find out what he is listening to.
Malimbo – The House Cleaner
She comes up to me one day while I am making my morning coffee and points at a bottle of whiskey we had sitting in the kitchen.
“See that?” she says. I nod.
“There was one just like it at the boy’s apartment but it was white, I thought it was water, and I drank it.”
My jaw dropped as I realized she was talking about a bottle of vodka, and I stifled my laugh as I remembered that she is veiled outside the walls of our house.
She continues, “I felt fire light up inside me and my head began to spin”
My roommate cackles from an adjacent room having heard the story and ever so eloquently adds to the conversation by saying “You’re going to Hell!”
I put my hand over my gaping mouth and glance at her, expecting her to be offended.
She laughs and says “That’s okay all my friends are in hell anyway”
She then sits down to light a cigarette and at the sound of her lighter the same roommate yells in protestation.
“MALIMBO DON’T SMOKE IN THE HOUSE”.
Her name is not really Malimbo, it’s Magda, but she became Malimbo after we saw the Malboro-wanna-be cigarrettes (Malimbo) that she smokes, and boy do they smell….
We spend around 30 minutes after she leaves trying to locate our things, and killing the killer flying ants that she sets loose somehow in the bathroom.
3ammi Abdo – The ‘concierge’
3ammi Abdo is a very old man. He has a very large family. They live on the side of my building.
When we come home late from work, at 1:00 a.m. sometimes, we stand at the door of his house, a.k.a. the large opening at the side of the building, and yell for him. We watch him wake up, stand up and limp over to the door with a handle.
He hooks the handle to the knob-less gate and lets us in… every time…
He has a giant black spot on his forehead that emerged from the countless times he banged his head on the floor while praying (no disrespect intended).
He is also the neighborhood “Mu’azzen” which means he is the one who calls for prayer at the neighborhood mosque.
It makes us feel less bad for waking him up every-time we want to get into the building knowing he wakes up at 4 a.m. to call for prayer either way.
The Maroon Driver
Allow me first to explain his nickname.
Maroon is brown and brown in Arabic, is bunni.
Bunni, otherwise known as hash, is very common in Egypt.
We have an on-going game to see who, first, can find the white in his eyes… Nuff said!
This driver is extremely skilled in Egyptian driving. He can climb over sidewalks and push cars out of the way with his vehicle. Not to mention he can punish random citizens for walking too close to the road by hitting them with his mirrors. A very common occurrence…
Roy a.k.a Rami
Now I want to introduce you to Roy purely because of his name.
Roy is a Lebanese fellow who joined us a little later in the game.
My favorite pass time is watching him introduce himself to the Egyptians and watching them fall to the floor from laughter when he tells them his name is Roy.
It wasn’t until later that we discovered Roy is the egyptian equivalent to “Rex” i.e. a famous dog name.
There is a very famous movie with a famous dog called Roy, it is so famous that even taxi drivers shrink at the sound of a man named Roy. It is almost taboo for them to call him by his real name and so they dubbed him Rami.
That’s all for now folks, stay tuned for more characters or other things I think of…