Marlene had already had a few too many by the time I sat down with my friend at the bar at the Four Seasons Cairo At Nile Plaza. But that did not stop her from ordering another and scooting her chair over to speak to us. Ah yes, the friendly drunk woman from Alabama…all the way on the other side of the world in Egypt.
From Alabama To Egypt: A Drunk Conversation At The Four Seasons Cairo
Marlene began by lighting a cigarette and then telling us about her trip. She was sick of dealing with her (32-year-old) son who lives with her, his “floozy” girlfriend, and his three-year-old daughter from another relationship, so she decided to leave them behind and treat herself to two weeks in Egypt.
As one does…
I admired her tenacity.
She recounted how she booked an all-inclusive package through some sketchy online travel agency but the only thing it did not include was alcohol, hence she walked from her nearby hotel (“it aint no Four Seasons”) to the posh bar here.
Extinguishing her cigarette, she immediately pulled another one out and lit it.
“I’ve been smoking since I was 10.”
The conversation tragically turned to politics and a debate ensued. Was the election really stolen? (just ask Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson). Was COVID-19 real or a hoax? You know, those light topics…
She was a friendly drunk, but a loud one. As she spoke, she kept raising her voice. She had forgotten about her cigarette while speaking and the built-up ashes fell all over her floral dress.
Another glass of wine, please.
Meanwhile, I shifted to water…
I tried to steer the conversation back to travel and credit cards. I do not mind a political discussion, but I am so sick of the toxic partisanship and have no desire to talk 2020. That was then, this is now. Don’t. Bring. It. Up.
I do have a picture of Marlene yelling at us, which I am not going to post. I don’t think she meant any harm and I’ve done enough just to describe our interaction. But I do wish Americans, of all people since I’m one of them, would be more well-behaved in public, especially in Muslim countries.
Reputation is an important thing: it is gained slowly over time but quickly lost. We all have our individual reputations, but we as Americans have a collective reputation that we must work together in order to elevate.
Here it was in the middle of Ramadan and you had an obnoxious drunk person in conservative Egypt making a fool out of herself. See, it’s not about pacifying others or telling people what they want to hear, but showing respect because we reasonably expect the same in return.
Anyway, it was quite an experience. In fact, we decided to avoid the bar the following evening after she said, “See you tomorrow!” as we were leaving. Um, no thanks.
But you do meet some interesting people when you travel, that’s for sure.