It’s coming up on five years since I arrived in Egypt so I thought I would reflect and jot down some lessons learnt. I’ll start with the obvious, here goes.
1 Bukra inshallah, (tomorrow, god willing) means no chance whatsoever, come back next week
2 Anything followed by inshallah means not a hope, God appears to have no interest in anything remotely connected to time.
3 No Egyptian will ever be heard saying “I don’t know”
4 Should you stop to ask for directions you will receive them, accompanied with multiple hand gestures but they will be wrong.
5 The address you are seeking will be called into question, the street number will be non-existent, in fact it will all be your fault, see number 3 above.
6 Expat females are all hoes, the fact you flaunt your hair, wrists and ankles proves it.
7 Sleeping is a national pastime. Police and bowabs appear to be the champions of this. Rifle barrels are an acceptable form of chin rests during sleeping sessions.
8 Workmen carry their tools in black plastic bags. Their tools consist of bent nails, one handled pliers, and a knife.
9 Telling lies is perfectly acceptable, it’s your fault for asking. It’s always your fault.
10 All foreigners are spies, either for Israel or the Americans. All Egyptians who don’t love Field Marshal Sisi are also spies, but they spy for Qatar, Al Jazeera or the Muslim brotherhood, who are essentially all viewed as being one in the same.
11 Everything made in China is viewed as rubbish. Everything made in Egypt is excellent. The fact that the Egyptian microbuses resemble wonka toys is irrelevant, you can add Mitsushit to the side to make it fancy.
12 Everyone is a drug addict. Antibiotics should be taken for everything, painkillers are only produced in the horse tablet size, steroids are the best way to “get fit” and look good, exercising is frowned upon, it counteracts Number 7 above.
13 Packing your own bags at the shop is illegal, parking your car yourself without a traffic assistant is illegal, tearing of your own toilet paper is illegal, carrying your bags to the car is illegal, making your own coffee at work is illegal. By breaking any of the above laws you are likely to cause a third revolution as you are not trained to do it and are stealing someone’s job.
14 You will never get all your change. Should the bill come to £17.21 you will get £2 back from your £20 Should you ask for the rest you will be chastised, laughed at and will still not get it.
15 Window stickers spelt incorrectly, furry dashboards and horns are compulsory car components. Wing mirrors, brakes and seat belts are not.
16 23 degrees Celsius is still freezing. Hats, scarves, and multiple layers are required and fires need to be lit particularly whilst drinking tea and sleeping.
17 Ridiculously tight skinny jeans and form fitting tee shirts are standard dress code, but only for men.
18 Axe Chocolate scented deodorant, marlboro, and brylcreme are compulsory accessories. Your phone and cigarettes go in the front pockets of your jeans to accentuate your package.
19 Cakes consist of 90% sugar, tea consists of 90% sugar, teeth are 90% black.
20 Boys are always right, girls only exist to tell boys they are clever, smart, handsome and always right.
21 Obama is Muslim brotherhood and his brother runs Al-Qaeda
22 Sisi in his hat and shades is a sex symbol. Sisi without his hat and shades is a Middle aged balding doppelgänger for Homer Simpson.
23 When Sisi becomes president the electricity cuts will stop, everyone will have a new job, a new apartment, more money and Egypt will rule the world.
24 No smoking signs are not mandatory, merely advisory, and don’t apply to Egyptian nationals.
25 “Please remain in your seat until the aircraft reaches the terminal building” also does not apply to Egyptian nationals
26 There are no homosexuals in Egypt.
27 Any homosexuals that have been arrested have been corrupted by foreigners.
28 Women who are assaulted or raped are a disgrace and bring shame on their families.
29 Virginity tests are completely acceptable.
30 You can amuse yourself endlessly by allowing your dog to bark at delivery men.
31 You don’t need a logical argument to win your point you just need to shout louder.
32 Puddles of water cause major traffic jams.
33 Shiny sparkley things, gold paint and flowery patterns need to be applied to every surface and crevice.
34 I don’t know if I could live anywhere that doesn’t have Otlob
Masalama, Slainte, Bye