Once again, I've had a load of work to do. So I got up in the fives, attended to my self-care and puppy-care and then cabbed to work.
This morning I had a young Egyptian driver who was more than happy to tell me about his life. There are a lot of Egyptian cab drivers now--I suppose there's been a diaspora of sorts every since the so-called Spring Awakening of four years ago.
I'm a bit too busy to look it up right now, but if memory serves, in addition to all its other ills, Egypt is sitting on a population bomb. It's now a country of almost 90 million people. Up from about 75 million ten years ago. As a consequence a huge percentage of their population is under 25. And there are no jobs. So they drive Toyotas here.
I've been to Egypt twice. Despite the history of animus between Egyptians and Jews, during my cursory trips to Cairo and Dahab and Giza, I've found everyone friendly. I'm not afraid to say I'm Jewish and when I do, no one launches into any sort of an anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist screed. Every one seems pretty live and let live.
This morning my driver, Tamar told me about his home in a small village on the Mediterranean, just outside of Alexandria. With three kids and a wife, he can only afford to go back every three years, though his parents live there, and his brother and his wife's family too. He even has his own apartment there.
"It costs me $15,000 to save to bring everyone," he said. "My parents are too old to travel. It's is $9000 for the tickets, $3000 for food, and $3000 for gifts, and you must bring gifts."
"Makes it hard to pay for your kids' college," I empathized.
I then mentioned how much I enjoyed visiting Cairo's ancient bazaar, Khalid Khaleely.
He corrected my pronunciation.
"Some words come from the mouth," he said. "Some from the tongue. Some from the throat. And some from the stomach."
"I tried," I said defensively.
We reached the little coffee place I stop at.
I said "Shukran," 'thank you' in Egyptian.
He rapidly fired back a "you're welcome" and we shook hands through the bullet proof.
I do love New York.