If you're reading this today, Nov. 2, then it's election day for everyone in the U.S.! Don't forget to vote! There are two very important ballot questions in Massachusetts that, if passed, would seriously reduce sales taxes in Massachusetts causing economic turmoil for our schools, libraries and social services.
Jeff and I have already voted. It's convenient that the electoral law allows absentee ballots to be emailed to you, then you print them out along with an affidavit saying who and where you are, then scan them and email them back. It was a surprisingly easy process.
Cameron went along with us to the photocopy store where we did the printing and scanning. I showed him the ballot and talked to him about what it means to vote absentee. I also explained about the ballot questions. He said when he was in preschool, they had a vote once too. The teachers set up a large cardboard box with one side cut out of it and each child went into the box and voted for what they wanted for snack: they were given a paper that had one picture of saltine crackers and one picture of pretzels, then they had to circle which one they wanted for snack. Then they folded up the ballot and put it in a basket. Cameron said he voted for saltines and saltines won by a vote of 8-7. He remembered his friend Maria was saying too bad that pretzels hadn't won because she had voted for them. Cameron said he should have voted for both pretzels and saltines so that all the kids could have had the snack they wanted. I guess I need to explain a little more to him about voting.
On a different note, I'll now introduce you to a very common and well-loved practice in Cairo: shisha.
Shisha refers to what is being smoked as well as the pipe being used to smoke it. It's all shisha. When I looked up a definition online, it said "a form of tobacco, chopped up, soaked in honey and glycerin and smoked with a pipe commonly known as a hookah, a shisha, or a narguile." You can buy shisha in a variety of fruity flavors. I've never tried it, but can smell the fruity smoky smell in restaurants.
Smokers will like Cairo a lot. Nonsmokers,.. well.., usually we can find a corner somewhere without a smoker at the next table, but sometimes not.
I took the picture of this woman last night at a restaurant we tried. Cameron really liked the restaurant because it had a playground. With no free public parks, having a playground can be a good draw for nicer restaurants catering to families.
Many people were doing shisha at this restaurant. When I was walking by the woman in the photo, I explained that there wasn't shisha where I was from and asked if she would mind if I took a photo of her to show people what it looked like. She said that would be fine and took a few seconds to fix her hair, then puff! I showed her the photo and she was very entertained and showed it to her friend.
I've noticed at a different restaurant that the waiter who brought the shisha will puff on it a little to get it going and then the customers might have their own mouthpiece to hook on to the tubing.
Here is an interesting New York Times article about shisha: