Monday, November 8, 2010

Cheap as Cheops

You can keep your high quality of life, safe streets, familiar language, hygienic water supply, stable economy, reliable public transport and whatever else you demand of a habitable city, you snobs. In my secondary quest to find somewhere to live for as long as my attention span or visa allows (whichever expires first), I've realised I really am fickle enough to be swayed by low prices above all else.

Which is lucky, because Cairo has little of the other stuff - though it does make up for it with great food, friendly people and the most incredible historical sites this side of the Martian pyramids.

I think I'll be here for a while - which is sort of necessary if I even hope to scratch the surface of what this country has to offer, in-between my work commitments and other stupid, self-imposed obligations. Thank the gods I don't have a girlfriend to add to my problems. Yes, I'm much better off sleeping alone in my cheap yet misleadingly advertised 'single' room that features two beds just to rub it in.

Not that there's any time to dwell on such distractions when the opportunity to indulge in some healthy comfort eating is always so close at hand. That's because Egypt doesn't only do low prices, but very generous helpings too - all portions here are Dave-sized by default. (In layman's terms, that means not eating anything for the first 12 hours of the day, then returning home and eating an enormous meal that makes you so full you have to lie down in the dark for half an hour in slight physical pain).

Mental Cairo traffic

Considering the size of these meat-heavy portions and the fact that no one seems to walk in car-obsessed Cairo (unless it's right out in front of a honking car - they don't even do that funny walk with the arms, which is disappointing), I don't know how the Egyptians keep their figures. But I guess you have to bear in mind your eventual mummification - you don't want to be that one fat corpse that uses up the entire roll of bandages, meaning the embalmer has to pop to Boots for another.

Small servings really annoy me. When in Italy, I only made the mistake of ordering an espresso once, believing it to be a drinkable cup of coffee. I'd like to track down the CCTV footage from that café to see the expression on my face when the gnome-sized mug was presented before me. That's why I don't eat sushi more often, even though it's probably the best food there is - the quality over quantity mindset is as alien to me as the shape-shifting Atlantean reptiloids who built these impressive pyramids... which I really have to get around to seeing one day soon.

But I'm not in a rush. With prices and portions like these, I'll be here for ages. Plus, I really need to lie down in the dark after all that shawarma chicken.

Novel progress: 10,627 words (21%)

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