Friday, June 05, 2009

An argument on the Nile River

Last week, my friend Yenie and a couple friends cruised the Nile River on a Felucca, a small wooden vessel that transports hapless tourists back and forth.

A motorized boat approached us. Our skipper yelled something to the other captain to the effect, “hey, you’re too close. Get away.” That was enough to anger the man, who responded, “Anta mish kwayyes!” or “you’re not good!”

Our skipper, a proud man from Upper Egypt, shouted back, “Ana ahsan min abuk!” or “I’m better than your father!” a polite insult equivalent to the English phrase "you're a big, bad man."

For a moment, I thought we were going to see blood. My friend Lee joked that they were river pirates, ready to board. I told Yenie that they wanted the woman—her. She was not pleased with my joke.

Fortunately, for everyone, they left as they came—suddenly.

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