September 5, 2006

Cairo and all that Jazz........

I had just finished a workshop in Cairo . I had one more night to kill before heading "home".
I browsed through the glossy "Cairo by night " for any interesting events .
To my surprise and joy , here it was . A fusion jazz night playing at the one and only famous jazz club in Cairo located in the proper middle class neighborhood of al Mohandeseen.

As an avid jazz lover , I was really looking forward to this fusion of East/West .
I called the number . Finally someone answered . A man .
"Cairo Jazz Club ".
"Hello , my name is Layla Anwar , am passing through and would really love to attend tonight's concert . I am calling to book a table ".
" Welcome to Cairo ya Set , how many will you be ? "
"Ermm...just me "
"What do you mean just you ?"
"I am passing through on a professional trip and I just ...."
"Sorry , we are fully booked ..."
"But , you just said ....."
"We are full . "
"Wait I am a tourist , I just want to listen to some Jazz."
"Women alone are not allowed besides what is your nationality ?"
"What has my nationality got to do with it ?"
"I need to know what your passport is .. you are an Arab aren't you ? "
"Well obviously, I am speaking to you in Arabic ".
" No unaccompanied female allowed..."
"Why not ?"
"Well you know ...."
"No I dont know , why not ?"
"We are a respectable place ..."
"Listen I am a ...."

Click - the line went dead on me before I could finish my sentence .

I waited 30 minutes and called again putting on my best Anglo Saxon accent . Mind you I could have also put my best Russian, French or Italian accent , but I settled for the nasal English .I figured people were more accustomed to it .

"Cairo Jazz Club"
"Hi , my name is Christine Smith. I am from the USA and ..... "
"Welcome , welcome , what can I do for you ? "
"I need a table for tonight "
"Of course Ma'am , what time ?"
"9 pm . And by the way , it is a table for one "
" Very welcome to Cairo , very welcome Ma'am, your table is ready anytime ..."

Don't you just love it ? This East/West fusion and all that Jazz.........