This happened the day I moved into the boat and I forgot to put it down here at the time.
On the way to meet a friend at the Marriott hotel, I walked down a road I wasn’t familiar with in Zamalek. As ever I tried hard to keep my eyes on the road in front of me, partly to avoid the inevitable obstacles on Cairo streets and partly to avoid looking at and provoking the unwanted interest of the men who always stand gawking in the road.
There is a lot of unemployment in Egypt, so many of these men truly have nothing better to do than sit around and stare at people in the street. Although ultimately me trying make myself less visible in Egypt is a little pointless because no matter what I do I am always going to be noticeable: aside from my clothes and the way I walk, I’m almost six feet tall. In any crowd of Egyptian women – in any crowd of Egyptians, even – I stand out like a baby giraffe. I still make the effort, though.
On this unfamiliar street I passed a man. I’d kept my eyes forward until he was practically next to me, then I risked a quick sideways glance just to be sure we weren’t about to bash right into each other.
“What the *$#@!% are you looking at?” he muttered at me, passing on by at full speed.
I actually laughed out loud. That was the only response I wasn’t expecting. Inexplicably, perhaps even perversely, I felt relieved. I’ve never been so happy to have someone swear at me before.