Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's wrong with car pooling.

If you are a Cairo resident, I won't have to tell you how the traffic has become the past couple of years. But , I'd like to ask you a question: Have you ever noticed the amount of cars with only the driver in it ??!!! I guess most of the cars in the streets carry only one passenger, the driver that is.

This fact drew my attention around a year ago, while I was reading " Whatever happened to the Egyptians " by Dr. Galal Amin ( the book is gr8 btw ).

I'm driven to think that this is one of the major causes of the lousy traffic we are having in our capital. We have poor, poor, poor & in-efficient public transportation; whether it was the underground, buses or taxis. So, families that can afford to buy cars for every member, will certainly do so without hesitation.
Doing the math ( just my own assumptions ), a single family could push around 3 cars in the streets each morning. Looking from the other side ( the destination side ), a working place with 100 employees could have 50 - 70 cars parking in the streets. ( At my department, we have a car for every single member)

I believe that such problem could be partially solved by changing our attitudes as regards transportation. I suggest car pooling.

I'll take my department as an example. Instead of having, 10 cars awaiting in the parking lot; there could be only 7. That's a 30% reduction in traffic.

What makes Egyptians not used to car pooling ?
( in my opinion )

1) We are not used to think as a community. We just tend to think of our own benefit ( ana w mn ba3dy el-toofan )
2) A lot of people tend to think that it'll take more time and consume more fuel to drive 5 more minutes. But, if it was considered thoroughly; the traffic reduction will decrease time consumption, fuel consumption and pollution.
3) We are not used to share.
4) Everyone thinks he's the most important one in the world, they can't wait extra 5 minutes till their colleagues are free to go home.

that's all for now.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A gesture that's stronger than a million words

Yesterday I was watching a movie on TV. Then came a scene close to the end of the movie where 2 friends just exchange glances, their eyes expressed all what they have experienced throughout the whole story.

On seeing this, I re-called a similar situation.
We were having a farewell party, as O ( my best friend ) was leaving for the U.S. By the end of the day, everyone present started wishing him & his wife good luck ........etc. Some of our friends almost cried, some even left early becoz the atmosphere was getting very emotional.
As for myself, I stood there till the end of day. I was the last person to salute him on that day and all we had to share was a warm hand shake, a small hug , a good luck word and an intense eye talk.

It's been almost 2 years now, but I will never forget the look in his eyes and the messages we delivered at that moment. Begadd, in-describable.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Egyptian sense of time

It really gets on my nerves the way Egyptians deal with time. I can't think of a better discription than ( dis-respect ).
If you decide to meet up with almost anyone at 8:00 p.m, you'll probably end up meeting at around 10:00.
If someone tells you he'll be late for just 15 minutes, he probably means that the earliest he can arrive is after 15 minutes. Usually it's never 15 nor 30 minutes it revolves around an hour or more.

I for myself used to be a very punctuate person, I learned from my dad to arrive 10 minutes ahead of any appointment. The Egytian timing has affected me big time, now I'm usually late for any appointment by 15 minutes ( this is un-acceptable on my scale )..

On going out with my friends ( they have terrible sense of time, that's if they have any ), I used to be the first to arrive. I was late for an hour on purpose, so as not to wait for long , BUT I usually had to wait for another hour or more.

Here's just one incidence: We had planned a Ramdan iftar at Mo- Cafe last year. I arrived at the restaurant 30 minutes before the Maghreb prayers ( which I thought was late for iftar outings, if you know what I mean ) I wasn't surprised to find myself the first to arrive. What made me laugh was 15 minutes before the Maghreb prayers, I was still on my own & recieved this call from N : " I was certain you'd be the only one in the restaurant. Could you please take my order , so that it's ready when I arrive "...........................