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Gayyash Al 'Aatifa

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tradition and Mazag

A great man, the late father of a dear friend.

My friend got in trouble once, his mother had found an aromatic date-sized clump of flora* while emptying his trouser pockets for the wash. She knew what it was. The next day his father sat him down for a Talk.

Lovingly, he reassured my friend: "Lamma kont addak we fel gam3a zamaan ma7na konna 3aysheen bardo. Konna bno3od a3daat we beera w feseekh we banaat, ah, tab3an, maho tabee3i fil fatra di..."(When I was young and going to university we liked our good times too, you know. We'd get together and there'd be beer and feseekh* and girls, yes, it's natural at this age...)

*Salted putrid grey mullet. Egyptian delicacy said to date back millenia; usually consumed with fresh watercress, lettuce and squeezed lemons on Sham el Neseem (ancient feast of spring); categorised as impure by religious authorities--consumption is technically unlawful. Its taste combines extreme fishiness and the grating sting of sharp hard cheese.


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