While Alexandria is just a few hours drive from Cairo, we Alexandrians lead a very different life than you capital-dwellers. Maybe there’s something in the breezy, salt-tinted air, but the rules and rituals of Cairo are worlds apart from the good life up north.
Fuelled maybe by home-sickness, maybe by the growing discontent I’m developing for the frenetic pace of Cairo, here are ten things that fellow Alexandrians will understand about our precious seaside town, accompanied by a collection of random, pretty photos of the place I call home – just because they’re pretty.
1. Our skin doesn’t need moisturizer and our hair is almost always frizzy because of the humidity.
2. Fish is eaten every Friday with the family – preferably fresh and at a restaurant by the sea. This makes us experts on fish, and thus we will always look down on non-Alexandrian fish.
3. In Alexandria, you can only belong to one of these camps: you’re either Smouha or Sporting; you’re either Ice Cream Azza or Makram. There is no such thing as both.
4. No, our accent is not cute. No, we don’t say Ayoo. We really don’t. Nor do we say ‘Bahary we benheboo’. And yes we have different words for rubber, eraser, chewing gum and street corner, but that doesn’t make us adorable when we talk. Stop it.
5. The rite of passage of every young Alexandrian is to drive up to Cairo on a Thursday night and sweat nervously in the queue outside the Cairo Jazz Club. And if we get in, we’re heroes to our friends.
6. We can actually go to the beach after school or work – or just whenever we’re bored. You can’t. So put that in your pipe and suck it.
7. Oh please, do tell us about how much you love Alexandria in the winter *eye roll*. It’s not like haven’t heard that line every day of our entire lives.
8. We hate Alexandria in the summer because the corniche is jammed with tourists from the rest of Egypt. We hate Alexandria in the winter because it’s cold and nothing ever happens. But the minute we move away, we spend all our time missing Alexandria.
9. Without fail, we are the loudest people singing along to Dalida’s ‘Ahsan Nas’ at every single wedding or party. Especially at the Alexandria bit – that’s when we go apeshit.
10. Yes, we are all related. Or somehow, we all know each other. It’s like a village of 10 million people.
By Samar El Shams