You know you’re in the Middle East when, at 6am just as the sun is rising,
prayer call startles you awake. From the minaret of the nearby mosque each
morning at sunrise (and again four times throughout the day) a chanting
voice blares over a loudpseaker, calling the devout to prayer. And in
Cairo, you can never be more than a few blocks from a mosque. Prayer call
this morning was so loud it sounded like the guy was chanting from the
balcony right next to ours!
While the slaughtering of animals for the Eid was supposed to happen
yesterday morning, Deb’s neighbors saved at least one cow for this morning.
Two hours after prayer call, a cow started shrieking from the street below
our window, and after each shriek, a chorus of people would cheer. I
figured I knew what was going on, but through the haze of sleep and jetlag,
I wasn’t entirely certain.
An hour later when I was up and caffeinated, I walked out onto Deb’s
palatial balcony and peered down into the street, which was bright red. So
I was right.
Gruesome, to be sure, but this is a celebratory time for the Egyptians and
the meat is most certainly not wasted.
On a political note, Egypt and Israel have always been bitter enemies.
They’ve been feuding over ownership of the holy lands of the Sinai peninsula
for decades. So the Egyptians are VERY thrilled over Israeli prime minister
Sharon’s grave health condition…but also nervous about who might be his
successor. Deb has a theory that the doctors are only keeping Sharon alive
with machines because the Eid is going on, and his death during the Eid
would be a cause for double celebration throughout the Arab world. So they
will wait until the Eid has passed to let him expire. Just a theory,
We’re about to leave for the pyramids, and you all are probably fast asleep!