The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.


June 2nd I moved back to Cairo from New York. Despite all of New York's attractions, it's a move I've been looking forward to with anticipation--I've missed my home, my work, my future husband, and my friends. 

I hear there's been lovely, temperate weather the last month, but by the time I arrived the city was already broiling. The blooming flamboyants--the flame trees, my favourite trees here--with their feathery leaves and masses of blood-orange blossoms, seem to actually be catching fire under the sun. But I don't mind the heat--it's familiar, and everything familiar is pleasurable right now. 

I got here just ahead of Obama. I walked around Cairo's eerily empty streets, watched the speech on TV in my neighborhood awha, and did a short radio piece on it you can listen to here. Audiences here--as audiences the world over--were impressed with the new American president; they're disposed to like him. (A few of the ahwa patrons watching the speech were particularly impressed by his Koranic quotations and by his apparent enjoyment of his visit to the Sultan Hassan mosque). But everyone wants to see what he'll actually do next.