“The Times They Are A-Changin”
The words of Bob Dylans famous 1960’s hit have never been more apt than in Egypt today.
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
And oh boy are they changing. I am torn between following every update on twitter and the on-line news agencies or just saying stuff it, burying my head, ostrich like, and carrying on regardless. “Chin up old boy” springs to mind…….. or words to that effect.
The problem with the ostrich scenario is that I might miss a vitally important piece of information, life changing things like the fact that TGI Fridays, Fusion and Fish Market no longer sell alcohol. WTF. Yes it’s true since the first of January. So you see what I mean, what if I’d missed that vital news release?
No longer can I sip a glass of fine Egyptian wine at sunset on the banks of the Nile. Comfortably ensconced in my rattan chair gazing upon the picture postcard view, watching the feluccas grace the water, pretending to be an expat from more gentle and elegant days gone by. Ok Ok ……I know I’m romanticizing, the smog and cacophony of car horns serves to drown out only the most determined of imaginations, but hey I’d give it a go, apart from the swimming that is, sorry Bob.
Our “Drinkies” and “Cheers” accounts have been maxed out. (for those of you poor souls unfamiliar with these wonderful establishments, they are THE two off licenses that operate in Cairo, a simple phone call and they deliver straight to your door). Anyway, a press announcement a week earlier had us restocking with renewed vigor.
STOP PRESS”……………. “12 DUTY FREE SHOPS CLOSED…ALLOWANCES REDUCED FROM 4 BOTTLES TO 1.”
was enough to send shockwaves through the expat community. Prices of all imported alcohol jumped 60% overnight. You think there was a revolution, well that was nothing compared to what was in store from the” ladies who lunch” brigade, never mind the “rig rat” oil guys.
Surprisingly enough, a couple of days later they reversed the decision. The official explanation was ” due to up-roar” , no details, no further comment, simply a reversal of the decision, hamdualah (thanks be to God). ( Unfortunately the TGI Fridays decision still stands.). You see that’s the problem here everything changes on a whim, remember the Visa scenario earlier in the year.
One day they simply announced you could no longer buy your visa on arrival at the airport, you had to apply to the Egyptian embassy in your home country, within a few days the decision was reversed. Official explanation “due to up-roar” in that instance the up-roar came from the tourist ministry, well it was hardly conducive to attracting tourists’ post revolution, why make it more difficult. It was never clarified who roared the loudest over the alcohol………..but my money’s on The Ace club members, boy they’re loud, just saying.
Just when I’m mentioning visas could someone please inform the dozy witch working on BMI’s Belfast check-in counter last week that this is no longer in force. It would save her having to listen to my irate husband via telephone from Cairo to “just freaking let my son board the plane,” and it would significantly reduce OUR phone bill. Sorry rant over.
Today’s latest is the Government ban on importing “provocative Products” now behave… these items are not what you would normally associate with provocation. Bearing in mind the cucumber and banana fatwa last month, you need to adjust your expectations.
This time we are talking dog food, cat food, pork products, alcohol, cigarettes and strangely Korean lettuce and jumbo shrimps. I can associate the jumbo shrimps with being provocative,……..well not everyone is equally endowed…. but Korean lettuce I just don’t get…….. well it is rather limp…. and as for the dog food, who? how? why? I give up. I should know by now not to apply logic it doesn’t work.
So what am I going to do….I’ll tell you, nothing, thats it, not one little thing…… sure what’s the point they will change their minds next week, and if they don’t, well there’s not one thing I can do about it………” for the times they are a-changing.” final verse…..enjoy
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.