Sunday, January 16, 2011

No. 0994 Saying "I love you" with your car horn

Music  and poetry is everywhere,
even in honking your car
In Cairo, the roadways are the very pulse of the city and are as loud and as musical as the rest of Egypt. 

Honking is sort of a ritual here, a rite of initiation into Egyptian driving. I had an American colleague who once told me that when she was driving her car here with an Egyptian passenger, she got scolded for two things: 1. She was looking in her mirrors too much (i.e., as in AT ALL) and 2. She was not using her horn to honk enough. 

Well, fair enough. On the roadways here, the drivers have their own system of messages conveyed just through the beats of the car horn. 

If you beat it out to: ba-ha-bak (I love you), then you are saying thank you to the car ahead of you for being nice, maybe letting you pass. There is also a wedding march that echoes across Cairo streets from throngs of cars every weekend from all of the regular wedding festivities. And of course, they also have a signal of beat to match some less lovely words which I won't write here. 

Anyhow, I think its absolutely fabulous that people actually honk "I love you" with their car horns, though I do respect my husband and a growing cadre of other Egyptians like him who refuse to honk to decrease the "music" just a little bit.

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