Friend in Cairo: we’re meeting a man on the street corner to pick up some bacon
We loitered on a street corner. An old mecedes pulled up, a Egyptain looking man wearing very dark sunglasses, smoking a cigarette, got out of the car holding an unmarked white bag. He looked at us, at my blonde friend and called her name. She walked over.
As a muslim country, rearing pigs, slaughtering them and distributing thier meat is not a high demand business. Listening to my friend and the man talk I heard the fear of the non-muslim.
Friend in Cairo: the children at my school think that you catch swine-flu from pigs, they don’t realise that you catch it from people
The Christians keep pigs, eat pigs. Pig farming in Egypt has stopped. My friend’s bacon supplier talked about how his pig farms used to be hidden in the heart of christian areas, or ex-pat communities (Americans) where the locals don’t worry about them. But now, since swine flu, it’s not safe, people break into the farms and kill the pigs. Now he imports his bacon from other countries.
The man offered us a lift to our next stop, the Cairo antiquities Museum. As he drove he told us his story. He was a native born Egyptian. He left Egypt at 19 to live in the US. There for 20 years. His Egyptain wife missed home so they moved back in 2008. He misses America. He misses the way people drive. Business is getting tougher. He talked to my friend about how she managed to find him. They shared names and places, they were friends of friends in the community of non-muslims.
Picking up the Bacon was so much more symbolic than simply putting food on the table.