Domestic drudgery in Egypt and an 'Incredible Journey'

They're two easily connected subjects, aren't they?


Domestic Drudgery.

Many Western women who visit Egypt are horrified at the seeming plight of many of the Egyptian women whom they come across. Older women are invariably emaciated, with cadaverous looking faces! The younger ones don't necessarily fare much better, except when they're getting married off. Then, they're fattened-up, like the prized cow!

You'd be amazed at some of the many wedding videos which I've had to endure over the years. There they sit; the groom in his hired suit and this big plump girl wearing a 'meringue'. Trouble is, she bears no resemblance to the skinny young bint who's just given me a glass of tea, as she's been back on normal rations for a twelve-month!

Girls are brought up to realise that their place is to be the property of either their dad or their husband, therefore (although you'll see many women in the streets and markets) a large proportion of them see their lives as one where they need not interact whom they don't want to, so they needn't really leave the house. They can live in seclusion, only having to trouble themselves with their immediate families and female friends, and one or two male relatives. Wearing the niqab (where only the eyes are visible) is really just an extension of this practice for many women, a natural progression, if you like?

By and large, what (to an outsider) might look like a life of subjection and confinement can also feel like a natural and straightforward progression from girlhood into being a wife and mother, just like the generations which have gone before!

Perhaps everyday kitchen implements, like these, might strengthen those generational connections, as they obviously haven't changed for a very long time:

How about those for food processors? I believe that they're mainly used for grinding okra. Or how about this which little Mustapha is holding; it's a new rolling pin for his mam. I have to admit that it resembles a pin much more than the one which Freda has, or the one my mam used when we were young, lol.

Culture and the preconceived ideas and opinions which come along with yours or mine don't necessarily help us to understand one another, do they?

The Incredible Journey!

Well, here we are, back in Windy Nook once again. We had been a bit concerned about the flights having to go via Cairo to Manchester, mainly because of the
possibility of the checked-in luggage not making it from the domestic flight to the international one. We've read a number of complaints on the internet where the luggage wasn't transferred because of the short time between flights. In the event, everything went smoothly, and the flights were champion. (Colloquialism: champion = OK, very good, or even thank you.) I even ate all the meal, which was chicken and veg with RICE, instead of my usual preference of potatoes,  to the point that I even tried a piece of Freda's beef on top! 

We sailed through Cairo Airport with plenty of time to spare, and by the time we were approaching Manchester, we realised that the pilot had shaved at least a half hour off the flight time. But our run of good fortune could not continue forever, could it?

I had hoped that we might be able to change our train to the earlier one, about 2pm 
instead of almost 4 o'clock, but we weren't able to, partly because our journey consisted of three separate trains! Never mind though, we waited in the cafeteria come waitingroom until it was time. Freda couldn't book the seats on the first train, as it was only going as far as Manchester Piccadilly, but on the other two we had pre-booked seats, that was fine!

The platform at Manchester Piccadilly seemed to be an afterthought built onto the outside of the main station,  very queer! Eventually, our train arrived at the next platform along from where we were waiting, and by he time we got to the entrance; it was packed like a tin of sardines! Look at this:

video

No kidding; it was almost as bad as that! When we finally managed to get aboard, and eject the two blokes form our booked seats, I had to sit with a full sized suitcase on the table in front of me, while the bloke opposite was trying to work on his laptop. It was Bedlam!

Swearing never to take the 'changing trains' option again, we soldiered on to the next change-over, at York. We were late getting in, due to the staff not pushing hard enough to get the passengers squeezed in at the other stations, I presume, we were dashing to make our connection. Now, which platform??? 

By some miracle, Freda found a station employee who directed us to platform 10, just a few yards away from platform 9 where we were, but also told us that all Northbound trains were delayed because of a trespasser on the track near Durham City! There was a train already standing there, with Aberdeen on the front which meant that it would be travelling via Newcastle. Obviously, I asked the conductor if we could go with him,  but he refused, wrong train operating company!!!

Someone else informed us, that due to the delayed trains backing up, our train would now leave from platform 11, and that we would have to take the lift (elevator, for our friends across 'The Pond') which would take us down a level to the undertrack walkway, so that we could get from platform 9 to platform 11, with our numerous bags and cases. We did that, and found another train there, with Newcastle on the front, yippee! After finding carriage 'C', we squeezed on board, managing to stow our baggage here and there, only to find that our seats were again taken by someone else. Sadly, the printed booking notices indicated that they'd been booked from Birmingham to Newcastle, so something was amiss!

On miraculously finding another railway employee, we were told that this was actually the wrong train, and that ours would arrive on platform 9. You can imagine how we were beginning to feel, so when we found a Chinese woman and her two loud children in our seats; we just left them to it and sat in two other (unbooked) seats for the rest of the journey. I was as 'pleased as Punch' when we crossed the Tyne into Newcastle via the King Edward Bridge, I can tell you!

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