So I’ve opted to be in Cairo for the holidays. A number of people, especially Caironians asked “Why, you live in Beirut and you choose to come here?” Well, why not? I love Cairo. I love the history, and the neighbourhoods and the vastness of the city. I love how you can keep coming back and have a wildly different experience of this city each time. I love how familiar it is and how negotiable. And most of all, I like having some favorite places and memories to revisit. It is a city I have a fond history with and I like to keep coming back to time and time again.
I especially love that every time I have been here it has been to do something different and to meet different people, and so my experiences have been so varied. This city is massive with a lot to offer. I know a number of people complain about it’s traffic, its harassment, its dirtiness, its air quality, among other things. For me, this is part of what I love about here. Its part of navigating through the time and space that is Cairo.
I also recognize that I am a voyeur, a visitor, an intruder and I come with my privileges as a tourist, even if I am not doing touristy things. And it is my friends and the people that I see and meet, build relationships with, and talk to that allow me into their lives and their worlds. They do so with authenticity and genuineness that helps me balance my privilege and live, even for a few days, a Caironian life away from museums and Khan El Khalili. And that is the difference that makes me want to spend my New Year’s here.