Sunday, August 19, 2012
The Sandlands are launched onto a three-day holiday, and Mr. Muscato and I have celebrated by darting off to Dubai for a couple of days of decadent downtime. It's the Eid al Fitr, the festival at the end of Ramadan, which, frankly, expatriates mostly celebrate by having a drink at lunch, as neither would have been possible only yesterday.
A friend celebrated by sending 'round the image above, which set Mr. M. off on a wave of nostalgia. What we have here is a page from the Egyptian Ministry of Education's official reader, circa 1970, the adventures of a brother and sister called Omar and Amal. They were more or less the Dick and Jane of the Nile, and if nothing else the Omar and Amal books represent, especially today, a window into a vanished ideal of the modern Arab family. Dad looks like Nasser in his Western shirt-and-tie; Mom is a blonde and sports the very latest fashion, clearly purchased at Cairo's equivalent of the big Soviet department stores, the state-owned Omar Effendi (Mr. M. reports that even his mama, today a vast and emotional lady swathed in traditional robes and acres of scarves, used to appear in a shirtwaist and blonde wig); and the kids appear to have popped in from the 1930s for the occasion.
The family exchanges Eid greetings: "Eid Saeed, ya Amal!" "Eid Saeed, ya Omar!" "Eid Saeed, ya Daddy!" "Eid Saeed, ya Mommy!"
Mr. Muscato was up most of the night having more or less the same conversation, if at significantly greater length, with friends and family around the world, so this morning will be a lazy affair, followed, very likely, by more of the same this afternoon (I'm thinking a rigorous round of pool/spa/pool/spa/cocktails, or the like). Tonight, apparently, we're being dragged out to go dancing, so we shall see, but tomorrow will very likely be much of the same...