Nadia Leigh's Wanderings
taxi drivers - taxi drivers seem to be my best bet at practicing and learning arabic. its a hit or miss game. yesterday I debated taking a taxi for $1 or walking the 6 kilometers in the heat of the day. I refused the first taxi drivers overpriced offer and convinced the second one to allow me, the "rich american tourist" to pay the normal price. we started to talk about different things and he, of course, made a kind offer for us to have a relationship of sorts. I kindly denied his offer, of course! I said to him "haram al laicham" [instead of of salam alaicham peoople say haram (meaning prohibited by Islam) so the person will know what they are doing is wrong] We then got into a conversation about what is haram or eep in cairo in comparisent to america. He told me he wants to marry a second wife from Sudan, because the sudanese women are hot (like boiling water). I asked why and he replied because they are not circumsribed. So we then started to talk about female circumcision. With my limited arabic it was hard to understand everything so I asked if he would like to stop and drink tea so I could understand everything. He stopped at a tea place. We drank tea, smoked shisha, and talked. Knowing that the man at the next table spoke english I asked him what the word for sewing was in arabic. The taxi driver explained what we were talking about. The man at the next table, not only spoke english but is a surgeon who knew all of the technical terms of the vagina and was able to explain everythign to me in detail. He said that he does this proceedure for the religious people in cairo who want it. His personal opinion is to leave the women as god made her. The proceedure that he does it just to cut the very tip of the clitoris. Some people, however, he said, want to remove the whole thing. And when he worked in aswan, with many sudanese people, he said many of the girls have their labia minora sewn shut and opened on the night of marriage. A long story short, I am very happy that i decided to take a taxi instead of walking in the 100 degree heat. I never would've thought that I would learn about circumcision from taxi driver - but so is the life in cairo.