After two flights and a four-hour layover in Frankfurt, we arrived in Cairo tired and disheveled. The customs officer waved us through with a flick of his hand, at about face level, and a look of “Get outta here.”
As we neared the end of the long line of people waiting on the other side of the guard rail, I noticed a sign that said “Zaahid”.
“That’s us,” I claimed, “I’m Desiree and this is my mom Brenda. Zaahid is my sister-in-law’s brother.”
“Hi Miss Desiree. Hi Mom. I am Moussa. I take you to Miss Hagar,” the man holding the sign explained.
The night air was warm and dry. I felt like I could finally breathe, after all that air-conditioning on the plane and in the airport. Moussa stuffed our suitcases into the trunk and we piled into the back seat of his sedan. He drove fast. I didn’t mind but Mom looked like she did.
“Welcome to Egypt,” Moussa called from the front seat, “First time?”
“Yes,” mom and I said succinctly.
Hagar and her mom, whom we had never met, hugged us and welcomed us into their home. We drank a sweet tea, made from tamarind and chatted. I was so tired my eyes were closing as I listened to them.
“Don’t worry if you hear fire crackers and cheering in the middle of the night. There is a wedding hall right next door,” Hagar said as she took us up to our apartment, on the 13th floor. We collapsed into our beds.
The next morning I woke up early with the sunlight piercing its way through the windows. I stumbled onto the balcony and this is what I saw:
I decided to take some pictures of the apartment, while it was still clean and tidy.