Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ramadan chronicles, part one in a series


It's been a while since I posted, more than a month and there's no real excuse for this. Really no reason as well. Guess I was busy with other stuff. I know, I've been very busy with one particular level in Halo 3, and I've been on vacation for a week... in Holland.

So Ramadan has started in August and it's a different thing all together when living in a country where religion is a real part of every day life. So I am intending to blog about my experiences during this period; the Ramadan Chronicles.

I came back from vacation 2 weeks ago, Ramadan had just started and the change in Cairo's atmosphere is very noticable.
For one, people are a bit more, how should I put this, they're tense. I was warned about traffic during Ramadan and the biggest change is that there're more accidents and my driver is more cautious. He's keeping more distance between our car and the next, and he seems to be driving more slowly. I'm okay with that, not that I'm scared when zipping thru traffic during rush-hour, he's very capable of handling the traffic, but especially the micro-buses are driven by tense and still awful drivers.
But the whole of Cairo seems to be off. Okay, so I was in overly regulated Holland for a week and got completely used to the fact that there's a rule, law or regulation for pretty much everything and even the exceptions to these are regulated. And although most of the Dutch bend or break the rules, they are following strict rules when doing so. We love the rule as it makes life so much simpler... I guess. And Cairo is pretty much everything but regulated. Yes, there are rules and laws and regulations, but pretty much nobody sticks by them and everybody does so as he or she pleases. And that is fine because there're no rules to this breaking of rules. (I haven't seen any bending of the rules).
So yes, not much of a surprise that I had to adjust to Egyptian life and Caironians doing things differently. But this was also not the Cairo I learned to love and appreciate over the 7 months before. This was a Cairo where life had come to a crawl during the day and at night is different as well.
People in the streets aren't as lively and in general the streets are empty. Empty with bustling, Cairo didn't really turn into a ghost-town, but I have to say that compared to a month ago, it is a shadow of itself.

There's more to Ramadan in Egypt and in next posts I will blog about them.