Thursday, November 14, 2013

Letters from Egypt: Curfew Lifted After 4 Mths of Suppression

Egypt has finally lifted its curfew after four months. Most of us knew that this was going to happen soon, but an official date wasn’t announced until Tuesday.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to do with my Fridays anymore after living life under a 7 pm curfew since July.

I remember during the revolution in 2011 having a “shoot to kill” curfew that started at 4 pm. It was lifted after a few days, week max, to 8 pm and then gradually lifted altogether. Any curfew restriction up until July never lasted that long. The most recent curfew began rigid, but then gradually meant that you could remain out in your neighborhood. If you were outside your neighborhood past curfew, you had to spend the night with friends. Airport arrivals or departures meant getting to the airport prior to curfew (factor in your driver getting home before the imposed time restriction), hanging out at the airport until 5 am or getting a room at a nearby hotel.

Curfew for every day minus Friday was gradually lifted to 11 pm and then midnight. This is also inconvenient when you have work and wish to travel outside your area. I called London Cab during the 11 pm curfew (Fridays had different times) to travel to Heliopolis to meet with friends. I asked what time the last taxi ran and was told 9 pm. Thursdays are the main going out nights in Egypt as an Arab work week runs from Sunday to Thursday. So this time restriction meant that I would leave the office and return home to hopefully leave by 6 pm for Heliopolis. Depending on traffic, I would probably make it there by around 7 pm at the earliest only to then say hi to friends and turn right back around and leave. Since Fridays are the weekend, you would have more leeway in traveling. Wrong. With the 7 pm curfew, you were basically still tied down to your neighborhood.

If you had to work on the weekend, like I sometimes do, you can forget about having an easy night and ordering take-out. There was next to nothing open. Sure there were a couple of places that really took advantage of the curfew, raking in the cash all the while; however, there are only so much of the maybe three options you can take. It will be interesting to see how sales will be for a couple of those places now that curfew has been lifted with more options available.

Fridays were also a pain because you stayed home and probably played around on the Internet. Yeah, you and all the other 11 million people in Cairo which meant internet speeds slower than a granny with a hip replacement crossing the street with a walker.

So as of today, November 14, we are finally free. Now Muslim Brotherhood and Ultras – don’t go and screw it up.

No comments:

Post a Comment