Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Monday, April 17, 2006

It's Summer Time!

Oh, Egypt is fun...and funny.

Being that I'm from Minnesota, I'm used to all kinds of weather. In the summer it is hot and humid, in the fall it's cooler and crisp, in the winter it can get to -40 degrees, and in the spring we have lots of rain. The seasons are so well-marked; we see leaves changing colors in the fall, snow and ice in the winter, budding leaves and color the spring, and consistent heat in the summer. Of course, this is not the case in Egypt. For the most part the weather is hot, hot, and more hot. Well... that's not completely true. In the winter time it does get pretty cool here, but only because there are no heating systems so you feel so cold in the brick homes. In Egypt people go outside in the winter time to warm up (to get in the sun)! So, that's the thing; Egypt is all about the sun. It is almost always sunny (with a pollution haze), it rarely rains, and there are some windstorms; and that's the way it is.

Still, Egyptians say they have a summer and a winter. Well, okay, maybe... if winter means "cooler" and summer means "warmer." Still, it's strange to think in those terms because there is no transition of sorts.

But oh, that is not true! There IS a transition! Is it bird migration? No. Is it the freshness of sweeping sandstorms? Not really. Is it the sudden increase in rainfall? Of course not. It's not a bird, it's not a plane, it's POLICE OFFICERS!

That's right. When the police officers change their clothes from black to white it means "Summer time!" No joke. All "winter" the police wear full suits of black. Poor guys, roasting away in that winter sun. But, one day everythings changes. Flip the switch we now have light--and I mean spankin' white brand-new looking police uniforms. I'm sure they will get dirty soon, but right now they just blind you with that reflection. This new color makes me aware of just how many police are on the streets of Cairo. They are EVERYWHERE.

Maybe they are everywhere because even though they have little authoritative power, they have a lot of power when it comes to Egyptian dress. Last week, before "summer" began, people were still wearing their winter sweaters and jackets--layering up while I, meanwhile, would be drenched in sweat wearing a thin, loose long-sleeve shirt. Now, dress has changed. People put away their winter clothes and took out their summer clothes. None of this"Well, the weather is such and such today so I will wear such and such." I was told by my Egyptian friends, students, and teachers that they literally wait for the day the men wear white and in a single act change their entire wardrobe. It's the nationally accepted transition into the season. Even the stores seemed to change overnight!

Just think of the power that one person has who tells the police what to wear. Amazing.

2 Comments:

  • At 4/24/2006, Anonymous Sarah said…

    Sarah--that is hilarious! Here, the season is changing quickly. In the past ten days, the trees have all budded and filled out. The flowers are out, people are walking around the neighborhood as if they hadn't ever been outside...and oh! the smell of spring. What a rush. Driving home today, I couldn't help but feel so blissfully happy to have spring around us.

     
  • At 4/27/2006, Blogger Teri said…

    funnily enough, in alex yesterday they were still wearing black uniforms. I was like "what???"

    you notice the school uniforms have changed to summer as well....good times in the sky blue and ugly tan.

     

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