Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Egypt sucks sometimes...

As promised, I continue my rant. Why don't we start at the top--with the prez himself. Can we say "corruption"? "Nuff said on that issue huh? I mean say the word and realize ALL that entails and you have an accurate picture of why Egypt is the way it is. And what way is that?

Well I would characterize it as a general malaise that has overcome the populace. I mean most Egyptians don't give a hoot about the welfare of the country because they are too busy--most of them anyway--scrounging around trying to concentrate on their own welfare. I mean when you have kids to feed and you cant afford it, or you want to get married and cant afford that, or you spend years in college and grad school and then cant find a job--any job...well, it's hard to wax philosophical about the republic. Who cares about throwing their garbage in a trash bin when some people have only garbage to eat? Who cares about air pollution when they cant afford to maintain their vehicles? Why try to keep yourself chaste, and/or show respect for the feminine gender when you have no money (read no hope) to get married? Why cling to your religion when the religious people get thrown in jail for practicing it? Oh I could go on and on but you get the drift. It's just so hard to give a damn in this country--about anything other than yourself.

What percentage of the 80 or so million people here are wealthy? How many Egyptians can honestly say they don't have to worry about money? Very few I'd guess. Yes, there's money here--and with it comes a horribly gauche and low-class display of wealth. Yet by Egyptian standards, wealth somehow equals high-class. God I've seen the people here with money--and with the manners of chimpanzees. (Why am I always comparing Egyptians to animals? Once again I do injustice to animals.) Yet they are considered--and consider themselves, high-class. Oh God I want to barf.

Infrastructure sucks. Services suck. Customer service is non-existent. I cant seem to maintain an internet connection for more than 24 hours straight. But wanna bet Baba Hosni gets to play on the PC anytime he wants?

Honor and keeping your word means nothing. An honest days work for an honest wage? Not here. Get what you pay for? Not likely. Affordable housing is a nightmare. Wooden ghettos spring up in the most unlikely--and unsafe places. Does the Mokattam tragedy ring a bell?

Foreigners here get swindled all the time. I've suffered in that department for sure. Case in point--just one mind you--I had to have an iron cage sort of thing made to surround my new split AC so someone wouldn't steal it right off the outside wall. My neighbor made the arrangements for it with the haddad (ironworker). About the size of the cage and thickness of the metal. We agreed on 400 pounds, everything included. They even wrote and signed a contract. The haddad came to install it when he knew my neighbor wasn't home. It was his chance to rip me off. First he charged me for the TAXI he took to bring it to me! That was 10LE. Then instead of doing the installation himself with the "engineer" (snort) he brought with him, he got some local bowab's kids to paint it and install it up on the wall. That cost another 25. The haddad also asked for another 25 or so for the engineer who actually did nothing but stand there. Did I mention the metal was a full 2 cm thinner than was agreed upon. Heck I could bend the bars myself if I wanted to! So what should have been 400LE for a decent cage, ended up cosing me 460LE and it is so flimsy it's not I am told worth even 200LE. This crap goes on all the time here.

My husband took my Mom and I to the pyramids the other night. It was dark and we were in the car and since mom and I were both in hijab, the guard taking fees for the Sound and Light show assumed we were all Egyptian and said we needed to come back on Thursday (this was a Monday) to see the show in Arabic. My husband told him we were Americans and so when was the English show? The guard says it's tonight. 75LE per person. Hmmm, that's steep I thought. Then the husband asked how much was it on Thursdays in Arabic? 15 LE!!!!!!! It was all I could do not to curse the guy out--the guard--not my husband. ;-) Can you even imagine something like that happening in America? Can we spell CIVIL RIGHTS/DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT??? Foreigners pay one price while natives pay another? I was so ticked I said I don't want to see the dang show in English or Arabic. (I actually saw it years ago in French but Mom never did but now she doesn't care either--haha!))

In short, there's just so little personal or public honor here.Those who don't care about their own reputation certainly don't care about the reputation of the country. I know I'm not complaining of anything new. And I'm not the only one--expat or native Egyptian--to complain. And I don't see any end to this in sight.

But...yes, there is a but...I'd still rather be here than back in the USA. I'll elucidate ;-) on that point further in another post.

1 comment:

واحد من الناس said...

Unfortunatally..this is Egypt, But i'd like to be justice.. Not all Egyptians like this guy (Haddad), In General there's a good ones who have the manners but they had lost among all the conditions of the countrey which you have been mentioned above.