Steve Franklin was a Knight Fellow at the university. I never met him - he left before I got here. But I find his business cards all over my office.
I've been reading his blog lately. The other day, I found something on it that I had to steal.
See, it gets dark here around 5 these days. As I cross the Qasr el Nil bridge over the Nile, on my way home, I witness a scene that you can write novels about (people here have).
Back in August, Steve quoted an article from the LA Times (by Jeffrey Fleischman) about this scene, on his blog. Here's an excerpt:
CAIRO — The lovers and the fishermen, the street kids and the cops, the veiled girls and the flower sellers, they all come at dusk to the bridge over the Nile, stealing kisses and tugging their lines, escaping the heat and hoping for magic, the boys whispering promises bigger than their pockets as moonlit boats glide beneath them.
Hotel lights glow along the corniche in the distance and somehow Cairo’s grit and poverty are gone; night makes everything pure. That’s when dreams and memories unfold on the bridge.
Ibrahim Adel, a waiter, tells his fiancee, yes, he will one day own a restaurant. Yehia Helmi, a barber, lifts his grandson to the railing and points to a sail flickering in the darkness. Samir Shawki skitters with his buddies through the traffic. And Ali Mohammed Hussein, a sturdy man with a bent nose, sells wilted roses in cellophane.
The Qasr el Nil Bridge carries tens of thousands of cars a day, but at night its wide sidewalks are shoulder to shoulder with Egyptians. There is no sweeter spot for a cheap date, a refuge from big families and crowded apartments. A brush of the hand, a smile, all the subtle rituals of Muslim romance play out in tiny dramas amid the call to prayer and the river breeze.