Monday, March 8, 2010

World famous

Me, last night, in a cab, heading downtown along the Corniche:

Me: "Lau-samaht (Excuse me) could you please close the window?"
Taxi driver: "Eh?"
Me: "Min fadluck (please) can you close the window and turn on the air conditioning" (insert pantomime of me, rolling up window and pointing to the a/c button)
TD: "Eh?"
Me: "Takeef (air conditioning)"
TD: "Ahhhh -- takeef "(nodding, acknowledging that he understands what I am saying)
Me: "Moomkin, takeef ON?"
TD: "Why?"
I point to the many many many cars that surround us and plug my nose: "The air outside is not nice."
TD: "Not NICE?! (he takes his hands off the wheel and turns around to me gesturing wildly) People come from all over the world to drive here, on the banks of the Nile. (He sticks his head out the window and takes a deep breath) Ahh, nice! Nice nice air, Nile, nice."
I point to the distant banks of the river, barely visible that time of night: "Nile nice, yes. But look, hundreds of cars here. Nile far away. Cars and pollution close. See?"
He looks at me thoughtfully.
He rolls up my window and says: "Hmmm. No takeef. I don't have the electricity for takeef. I close your window. I keep mine open. But look, see? Nile, it is world famous."

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