Saturday, December 18, 2004

Alexandria, Egypt: Islamic Internetting

Alexandria offers a respite from the hassles of the tourist spots in Egypt. There's not really much to see here, and therefore I don't have to put up with people offering me things I don't want everytime I walk down the street, which happens in Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, and Dahab.

Here is a good reason to come to Alexandria. I have a hotel room in a belle epoque building, with enormous window-doors (is that what they call a French window) opening onto a terrace from where I can gaze over the Mediterannean Sea...and for 30 Egyptian pounds (4 Euros, AUD$6).

I am writing this in an Internet cafe, where in the seat next to me is a women covered from head to toe in black, including the head covering with only a slit for the eyes. This is not too common in Egypt - most women have only a colourful scarf covering their hair, leaving their face visible, and in Cairo and Alexandria many women have no head covering at all. I can furtively glance at what the woman next to me is doing, and she seems to be writing e-mails in both English and Arabic, and gazing at many photos of war scenes, more or less as the media would show from Iraq.

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