Sunday, March 21, 2010

Letters from Egypt: My Night Out


 Turkish brother and sister in a photo with Natalia and me after calling me on my false Azerbaijani origins

I can’t decide if it’s only age finally rearing its head, but I’ve been somewhat of a recluse for the past few months. However, I decided that I would venture out this Friday night and revive the old LeAnne. Little did I know the stories that I would acquire.

Natalia and I met up for dinner at La Bodega in Zamalak with a couple of our friends. Afterwards, Nat and I decided we would go to Club 35 – probably one of my favorite clubs in Cairo (located in Giza). We walk in with Jack – as in Jack Daniels – and finagle our way to a couple of seats at the bar.

Two females out on the town in Cairo, alone and single. Lights clearly began flashing for all the guys. The first to approach us was Sherif and his friend Amr as Sherif skirted over my way and asked where I was from. Dear guys: when you see two single females, it doesn’t mean necessarily that they are on the prowl for your companionship. I began to tell him my name was Amanda and I was from Azerbaijan while Nat – ah hem Jane – was from New Zealand. We were just visiting staying with a friend in Shobra (one of the worst areas in Cairo) whom we’d met at uni in Switzerland. Amazing what men will believe although they assumed our friend was Egyptian and from Hurghada or Sharm el Sheikh (meaning we must be prostitutes).

Then another guy approached asking if I was British. I loved his line, “I’m not trying to hit on you…” as I’m sure he was genuine (we work in the same industry), but that was quickly followed by another guy, Habib (actual last name), saying much of the same. Habib informed me that he was only approaching me for a business deal. You see, Habib worked at an advertising agency and was looking for foreign faces for an international advertising campaign and what do you know – I had the exact face his firm was looking for. When he asked if I’d take down his number, I politely said I didn’t have a phone, but since it was a business transaction, I requested a business card instead. After he fumbled in his wallet, it was clear he didn’t have one. Shocking.

As he repeatedly kept asking if I was interested in the campaign, I once again politely declined. Then he said rather hastily, “We pay up to €200 a day!” To which I responded, “I think I’m worth at least €400.”

Several other guys were in between, but perhaps the most memorable was this guy standing right beside me whom also asked where I was from. When I said Azerbaijan, he then began speaking to me in a foreign language. Apparently my Azerbaijan scheme failed me as he was from nearby Turkey.

Nat and I decided that before the night comes to a complete close, we should go by Cairo Jazz Club. We walk in and immediately need to go to the restroom where we ran into a familiar face. While discussing what we’ve all been up to, a lovely girl pokes her head out the stall door and asks us if we have an id card or credit card she could use for a couple of minutes.

So maybe I’m naïve, but apparently everyone else was naïve, when we finally got why she was requesting the card I told her that I could care less what she does in her own time, but when it comes to getting in between me and the toilet in dire times, you’re going to want to rethink your position and/or extracurricular activities.

I’m also a fan of the guy approaching me saying, “My friend thinks you’re hot and wants to meet you.” Then turn to look and his friend is talking to another girl. The friend then says, “Well, apparently he thinks that girl is hot too.”

Oh the memories…

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