Phew, where to start, where have I been? Well I haven’t been far but I’ve been swept up in all the election fever and the demonstrations that proceeded them. To be honest it was kinda hard to write anything upbeat with all the crap going on, but as the dust is starting to settle and there is a return to normality in the air ( well as normal as Egypt gets) it only took a cucumber to pull me out of my self inflicted misery……. now brace yourselves I’ll get to the cucumber part later, first off the elections.
The streets have been swamped for weeks with all manner of election posters and banners, all attached to lamp posts and such like with typical Egyptian ingenuity. What they forgot to take account of was that it was also Egyptian workmen who had erected the lamp posts……..so inevitably the roads were blocked as they, the lamp posts i mean, came crashing down once the wind caught the homemade, and very VERY tacky and tasteless banners. What’s new eh?
The banners themselves were a master class in confusion. Now bearing in mind I don’t read Arabic I was on a hiding to nothing anyway. However the most confusing part was the picture depicted on each one. These ranged from tractors, to sheep, to tanks, to food mixers to very oddly tins of sardines? What’s that all about?
Now there is a history in Egypt of fixing elections (brings back memories of Sinn Fein, vote early, vote often) so with typical expat logic we all reckoned if you voted for them you got the cooker or tin of sardines or apples etc. Now how you divided up a tank between voters or indeed how could the sardine guy possibly compete with the washing machine man led to some fairly animated and it has to be said heated debates. Obviously the bottle of water guy was totally screwed.
About 10 of us spent a very amusing night discussing the various connotations and had we been allowed to vote the spaceship man was home in a boat. On reflection and taking into account the Irish ancestry had there been a Guinness guy there would have been no contest!!! But the best one was the conservatory guy who had completely miss timed his advertising campaign and was indeed actually selling conservatories. Poor soul his phone must have been ringing of the hook.
There was of course a more logical explanation, estimates of illiteracy in Egypt range from 33% to 40% so it was an aid for the voters to put their x beside the picture on the ballot sheet, the truth is often stranger than the fiction, and in this case rather sad.
Anyway on to the cucumber. In fact not just the cucumber, we are talking cucumbers, bananas and high heels. For those of you unaware of the ongoing election results ( it won’t be finished until January, well the first part anyway) the Salafis are currently running at about 24%. These are the more fundamentalist Islamic guys who basically want to move towards the Saudi based Wahabi teachings, women won’t be allowed to drive, must dress in full abaya, hijab, niqab, yes the ninja look etc etc I think you get the picture.
They are now saying they have a mandate from the people (again memories of Sinn Fein) and they have issued a whole set of controversial Fatwas. Today’s latest stipulates that high heels are provocative and can only be worn by ladies in their own home for the benefit of their husbands, they are banned from being worn outside. Strangely this only applies to Muslim women so clearly the men can carry on regardless!
Some other crazy has announced that women are banned from handling cucumbers and bananas, carrots have also been considered but the jury is out on that one, as they ignite sexual desires in women… WTF….I’m imagining sealed containers of the afore-mentioned items in every supermarket, security seals attached only to be broken by the male household members. How are they going to police this, will the banana carts found on every street corner now need a over 18 males only license, or will they create special member only clubs for the purchase of these sexual stimulants.
Well, just in case I’m off to stock up, anyone know can you freeze cucumbers and bananas? Or maybe the frozen solid variety require a different permit altogether as they are obviously enhanced in this state….. Regardless ladies it’s the perfect opportunity to replenish our shoe cupboard so let’s go!