Time in Egypt is very relaxing. No one is too busy to stop, have a drink together, and gossip a little.
Brice has really taken to the slow pace of the culture. He played pool this morning with a dark skinned Egyptian man under a covered terrace as we waited for the man we were meeting this afternoon to show up. The man told us he would be back in an hour; I told Brice that meant he would be back in two (he was). So Brice contented himself during the wait by picking up Arabic words, and failing miserably at pool.
When the man arrived we sat on maroon cushions and talked religion and politics some more. That’s all we have been talking since we got to Egypt, and by talking I mean hearing. It has been the greatest cultural immersion experience I’ve ever witnessed. Some very educated Egyptians have enlightened us about the state of the country and the priorities of their religion.
I grew up in Kenya, and I spent most of my days living there doing very little. Drinking tea. Reading books. Sitting outside in the shade petting our cats. And while my life was very different from the people who lived outside my gated home, the pace was the same. Why rush? Life will be the same tomorrow as it is today. But even I found myself complaining to Brice that we’ve been here three days and have accomplished very little. “By American standards,” he told me. I was so proud. And he is right; we’ve learned much valuable information about how to operate within the country.
Brice left me at the hotel this afternoon to visit an Egyptian Country Club (not a bar). Several hours later he called me with an adventure story that exemplifies the concept of time in Egypt. You can read it here.