I am now in Cairo, Egypt. I arrived Monday night and got thru the airport and luggage business. Hamada aka Ahmed was there waiting with his friend, Jassar. It was 2 am before I was in my room. It’s Ramadan and it was time for the Fajr and the pre dawn meal (Suhur) to follow. Every eating spot was open. Most are closed during the day because most are fasting. All stores, cafes, and street vendors were out and about with lots of merrymaking going on like it was high noon. Really a sight to behold. I wouldn’t see Hamada again until he picked me up after 10am. I’m being respectful. One doesn’t eat in front of someone fasting. I told him I will eat with him when he eats the evening meal (Iftar).The next morning was spent was running around to get Residency Stamp to begin the Marriage process. Next the medical to be conducted at a government hospital but we were too late for medical, missed it by 15 minutes. We will try early tomorrow before my Embassy appointment at 1030am. It was beginning to get stressful because one cannot be late to the Embassy and it cannot be rescheduled if missed. Oh no! The doctor doesn’t start until 9am. Will I have enough time?When we dropped off my suitcases at our place, I was pleasantly surprised. 3 large bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, remote control a/c. All nicely furnished. I can safely stay in home with my Residency Stamp, preparing to get the Marriage Contract. This means I am not a tourist and about to be his wife. We sleep together as husband and wife after the religious ceremony 6/3. At that time, we will be in the Village and another place furnished to call my own. The Family home is in the Village which is over 3 hours away by train from Cairo. The family has gifted me with the top floor (another penthouse) and have renovated and retrofitted the bedroom, living room and bathroom to Kat’s specifications. The entire family has embraced me from great grandmother (Naimah) to the littlest nephew who calls me “Baby”. Grandmother is blind and said, “I can’t see Kat but my heart tells me she is beautiful”. I love her like one of my children”.
My next day in Cairo was spent following through with the marriage process; back to the hospital, with a ton of people gathering and waiting their turn. Hamada takes charge, makes his way to the front, gets the paperwork started even before the doctor arrives while I waited in the car with Jassar.
They take my blood, my BP, then instructed us to pick up certificate he next day. Now off to the U.S. Embassy. I almost forgot about my cousin Erica who I met on my Emirates flight. She admired my Muhammad Ali tee shirt knocking out Sonny Liston. I love that shirt and you wouldn’t believe how many conversations it has started for me, Anyway, turns out my new cousin (as she immediately began to call herself) is from Milpitas, is married to an Egyptian and went down this same path. She said, “anything you need, any questions you may have, just call me. I’m here for you, that’s what family does. I will be in Cairo for a month with my husband’s family. So I’m here”.
Well, we made our appointment at the Embassy with time to spare, got the Affidavit which states the USA has no objections to this marriage. The next stop would be clear across town for Authentication of the Affidavit. More waiting, more fees. He next step will be on Saturday at the Egyptian Ministry of Justice to complete forms, signing of contract, and with our witnesses. What a day! He’s fasting, I’m fasting, and on top of that it’s hot as blazes. This is another reason I bring groups when the weather is cooler in October/November.
Hamada didn’t know how much I need to see bodies of water for the calming effect it has but the 9th floor apartment he got for us in Giza has a partial view of the magnificent Nile River from my balcony. Imagine that! To him and other locals, it’s like us in the bay passing Lake Merritt everyday. By the way, the apartment is just a few blocks from The Four Seasons Hotel.
Breaking fast this evening would be at a different restaurant. What I witnessed was something I had never experienced. We were upstairs in an air conditioned restaurant steps from our home. I noticed people sitting with food on their table but not eating. Our food was served but Hamada motioned to wait. At 650pm the Maghreb (Sunset Prayer) was called. That’s when the ears of Morocco are lifted up, everyone eats or prays.
Four days ago some tourists on a bus were injured in an explosion. Some sources say it was a technical problem on the bus others say it was something on the roadside. I don’t know. I wish I had more information to share.
Tomorrow will be another day in the life of my new beginning in Egypt.