Thursday, May 30, 2013
Mystic Nile (and Massive Pasties)
A nice little piece of Egyptomania today, from that liminal period after the First War when Gibson Girls were morphing ineluctably into flappers, just as the era of Theda Bara was giving way to headier brews courtesy of the likes of Clara Bow. This Cleopatra wannabe would fit right in at one of Baz Luhrmann's Gatsby parties, don't you think?
I'm feeling Nilish, you see, because tomorrow I'm jetting off to Cairo to join Mr. Muscato, who's been there for a week already. I always find it odd to be on my own, puttering around the house with the dogs (who are confused and mopish themselves these days, both because of the favored parent's absence and because of all the boxes), and this time has been no exception. Odd things always seem to go wrong when he's away; last night, for example, I came home from a dinner party to find the kitchen floor awash, our water dispenser having decided for reasons obscure to empty its contents with the careless abandon of an incontinent aunt. Today I had a distressed call from Mrs. Galapatti-da Silva late in the afternoon, as a heretofore unnoticed smoke alarm on the attic stairs had developed a mind of its own and was, in the utter absence of any smoke at all, emitting a sound that even over the telephone made Nina Hagen sound like Jackie Kennedy (and you just try to find someone to come over and deal with that at our local equivalent of 6:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon). I shudder to think what might happen between now and when I finally depart for the plane tomorrow morning.
It will be a busy week in the city that in Arabic is called El Qahira, the Victorious. We're being very silly, you see, and creating for ourselves a little pied-à-terre, turning a flat that Mr. M. had long rented out into a nest that we can keep as a toehold out in this part of the world once we leave for the States. He's been a whirlwind of activity, as the place had been empty for months and required everything from a good clean to kitchen appliances. We shipped a great heap of things from the Villa Muscato overland (I may never have been to Saudi Arabia, but my food processor has), and he went and met them on arrival, so he's also been having bookshelves put back together and getting the television hooked up and generally doing all sorts of terribly practical things (he's gifted that way. And many others, for that matter). As a result, I plan to swoop in and be imperious in terms of getting pictures hung and dishes put away, and at the end we'll have an eccentrically furnished but quite comfortable little bolthole.
That we're doing so in what may or may not turn out to be Petrograd in 1919 or Tehran in 1980 is perhaps a tad off-putting, but I do have hope that things in Egypt will take a turn for the better; at this point, they almost have to.
The trip will also be a chance to take one more look around - and my first since all the great changes of the last two years or so - at my favorite city in the world. I hope it's stayed that way, and will do so between now and the day, inching ever closer, when we hope to retire there...