Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CXIX. Alexandria – My Vacations (5 of 10)

Just because I was in Alexandria didn’t mean that I didn’t go to the movies. There was a time for the beach, a time for the corniche, and a time to catch a movie.

We had two neighborhood theaters. The first was Metropolitain and I went there with my cousins. They had two movies and a serialized movie. Of course, the episode stopped when the shagi’eh (hero) was in a tough spot. Thus, we had to go the following week to see how the shagi’eh will extricate himself.  The whole week was spent speculating as to how he would do it; Gasti was the best at resolving this particular mystery.

The second movie house was Gaite. They showed one good (second run) movie. We went there with aunt Rachel who bought us treats to munch on while watching the movie. If you went there in the evening, the exit doors were opened, and the heat of a closed (not air conditioned) theater was therefore banished.

I remember two movie theaters downtown: Lido and Cosmo. They showed Arabic and foreign films. At the Cosmo, I saw three memorable and sad Arabic features: Rosassa Fel Alb (A Bullet In The Heart); El Madi El Maghoul (The Unknown Past); and Sayedet El Camelias (The Lady Of The Camelias). The second one was a real tear-jerker; Robert was with us and was sobbing at the end. He swore off Arabic movies after that; nevertheless, he insisted on seeing The Lady Of The Camelias. Big mistake. He cried his eyes out. This time he stayed away from Arabic movies for many years.

At the Lido, I saw an Italian movie that left a deep impression on me, Il Figlio Di Nessuno (The Son of Nobody). The name of the little boy in the movie was Bruno. I decided to give the name of Bruno to my first male child. But Michael was lucky, I changed my mind in the meantime!

Both in Cairo and Alexandria many movie houses gave you a program for free. My cousins and myself collected those programs. We assumed that such a collection would one day have a monetary value. Perhaps it would have had. However, that’s a moot point, for we left our collection behind when we departed from Egypt.

Going on vacation was not a one-way street. During the cold Alexandria winter, uncle Maurice and his family came for a short spell to enjoy Cairo’s balmy weather. When they did, they usually went to Helwan.

Helwan is a spa, long a health resort of international reputation. It is about 25 km south of Cairo; from there, you can view different parts of the Nile’s valley; the pyramids of Saqquara; Dahshur; and even Giza. On this spot, with its hot springs, and its warm dry desert climate, an artificial oasis was created in the second half of the 19th century.

You went there to take the water which is high in sulphur and saline salts. If you suffered from arthritis, or were simply ordered by your doctor to avoid cold and damp weather, Helwan was an ideal destination. Then again, you could (like uncle Maurice) go there to enjoy pure air, and virtually guaranteed sunshine.

Today, the rapid industrial development of the town, and the surrounding area, has largely demolished its value as a spa and a fashionable vacation resort.

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