Cairo's Man Show
(Page 3 of 3)
I spent my last day in Cairo at the Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha, a sparkling monument perched on a craggy red mountain. The view from the marbled terraces is literally breathtaking, thanks to the ring of greasy brown smog that surrounds the city. As I stepped out of the blue-tiled holy place, dizzy from carbon monoxide and beauty, midafternoon prayers were called from loudspeakers. The holy Quran sang out from the thousands of big and small mosques below. To someone who lives in fragmented, multiculti Toronto, such demonstrations of unity, of shared faith, are mesmerizing. I sat on a low bench and let the sounds course through me, vibrate in my bones.
Full of brotherly love, I wandered down the mountain and hailed a cab. The driver was a chatty sort. 'So, Canada?'
He looked away, stared at the road -- odd behavior for a Cairo cabbie. I was sitting in the front seat close beside him (back seats are for women only). He looked at me sheepishly and turned off his radio. 'Canada, yes?'
'So, yes. In Canada, yes -- man can marry man?' I knew the same-sex marriage debate was big news, but not this big.
'Yes. Men can marry men.'
Another long pause, more furtive road-watching.
'Yes, I see. So, they have one wife, together? Is good, one wife. Saves money.'
I could only agree.
R.M. Vaughan is a Toronto-based writer and video artist. Reprinted from the Walrus (Oct. 2006). Subscriptions: Canadian $39.75/yr. (10 issues) from Box 915, Station Main, Markham, ON L3P 9Z9, Canada.
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