Why Cairo wants you to get fat (Part 3)
I’ve written two posts so far about why Cairo wants to get its citizens fat. So far, I’ve talked about dieticians and outings. In this post I’m going to discuss what inspired me to think about Cairo making us fat in the first place.
The third reason as to why Cairo wants you to get fat is extremely simple. It’s right in front of you and you see it every day.
It’s the street. Sound strange? Let me explain.
There are two factors involved here: the people in the street and the contents of the street. Let’s start with the people.
Picture an innocent Egyptian girl deciding to be healthy and going out for a jog in the streets. Maybe she can’t afford to go to a gym, maybe she doesn’t have a gym nearby or maybe she just wants to breathe some fresh air (assuming Cairo’s smog-filled air isn’t slowly killing us all).
She dresses up conservatively (it’s Egypt, after all) and she hits the streets. She’s running peacefully. Oh, the wind in her hair! Oh, the freshness and the beautiful greenery to observe! It’s so refreshing!
“Pssssst! 3assaaaaal! Ma tegri berra7a shwayya!”
“Matgeebi bosa tayeb!”
Yes, you guessed it. Sexual harassment. Lots and lots of it. In fact, if you’re a girl and decide to jog in the streets of Cairo, consider yourself lucky if you don’t get grabbed or stripped in the middle of the street. No one will make a fuss, believe me. People will blame you for going there. After all, the girl who got forcefully stripped to her undies amidst protests was blamed for going there in the first place.
To add insult to injury, even if you don’t think you will get harassed, you will still get picked on. A girl I’m friends with on facebook once went jogging in plastic medical goggles and a guy laughed at her and asked her if she was going for a swim.
Khalas, let’s assume you’re lucky enough to have a penis. Go for a jog. You will still get picked on. People will throw their opinions at you even though you are just minding your own business. Considering wearing headphones? Enjoy having a car/motorcycle/horse carriage run over you.
Moving on to the second factor; the contents of the street itself. Cairo’s streets are filled with things that are considered to be both a blessing and a curse. Kiosks. In Egyptian terms, koshks.
Egyptian kiosks are equipped with every single snack imaginable. Think twinkies, chocolates, sodas, chips, biscuits…and the list goes on and on. And if you go there to buy just one item, you will end up buying at least three more. It’s too tempting! The display is always so colorful and so full of variety.
In my case, I’m lucky because my guilty pleasure is no longer sold in most kiosks. The “katakito” bar of chocolate. The Egyptian equivalent of the KitKat chocolate bar -except better.
But of course, I am not immune to other temptations such as salt and vinegar chips or cadbury chocolate bars. I just avoid kiosks altogether now as a general rule.
If you’re a guy, you’re probably also tempted by foul and falafel carts. Of course, I’m just assuming; I don’t have the guts to go to a foul and falafel cart -being a female and all. What if I get harassed? People will blame me for going there. I really ought to just stay home and have my meals pushed through a hole in the door.
Maybe you should just invest in an overpriced gym membership -or not exercise at all. What’s wrong with a little extra weight anyway? You’re just going to be more huggable.