Friday, June 19, 2009

Beach Musings

I'm baking on a beach early on a Saturday morning in Acapulco watching a group of boys play a lively, if furious, game of beach soccer. The breeze coming from the ocean feels magnificent!

All too often I am accosted by vendors selling cruises, hats, shell jewelry, chains, sand pails, pastries, sunglasses, scarves, juices, you name it. The rest of the time, I am bothered by men whistling, calling out "Morena!", or attempting to talk to me in Spanish, which I pretend not to understand. Then they try in broken English, which I also pretend not to understand. Mean of me, I know, but I just want to sun, journal, and daydream on the sand before my flight leaves in 6 hours.

Leaving the Beach

It was so HOT. (Check out the tan.) Luckily, I had this sarong with me to protect me from the rays. Why men must've thought this was extra-sexy?? They were tryin' to holla for REAL while I thought I looked prudish as all get-out.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Calling on the LORD in Cairo, Egypt

 Never one to take the LORD's name in vain, after a hard day in Egypt I involuntarily let out a "Woo, JESUS!" before I caught myself. I had to go all the way back to my roots when my Mudear used to call on the LORD when she was dead tired. That was me today.

Dodging and ignoring the men was a constant battle. I had to be wary of men who sidled up to me making innocent conversation or offering to help me find my way. It turns into an offer to visit their family's shop or asking me a million questions about myself. Now I don't mind male attention & I'm accustomed to getting it while I'm out and about, but these people are aggressive! They don't take no for an answer. Thing is, they wouldn't dare approach an Egyptian woman. It is completely against societal norms.

As tough and easy-going as I am (yes, a contradiction), I shed a few tears the first day I was there. I found few could be trusted, the men were pushy and overbearing, and the women were of little help. Almost everything was a scam!! (No exaggeration.) It also did something to my psyche to be stereotyped and treated differently based on my gender and nationality. Funny, but I'm accustomed to discrimination based on my race in the USA when it happens. It's hard to explain. Determined not to let these factors get in the way of my enjoyment I adopted the look you see above and took to wearing my iPod, which I rarely do while traveling, so I could block out the advances of the men. If I couldn't hear them, they couldn't bother me. I also learned not to make eye contact with them as they saw that as an open invitation. I learned to say الذهاب بعيدا (pronounced em-shee), which means, "Go away", although that was of little help and not a very nice thing to say. Covering myself as much as possible helped, too.

A quick study, by the end of Day 2 I was negotiating with merchants, rudely pushing my way through lines and crowds, and staying in my place as a woman with the best of them.

Smiling at the Pyramids

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