Good ol’ ahwas of Egypt. The hotspots of ambition, where we dream to dream, sip on some cardamom coffee, and begin our shisha habits. But most of all, where comradery lives. Given that afternoon tea week ended yesterday, none better an opportunity could’ve headed our way as we contemplated on what hot topics and themes we usually hear at our local ahwa. Well, below are the main ones.
You’ve definitely heard these conversations at least a thousand times. Your fellows at the table near you will dissect each and every inch of the last football match, regardless what team it is. “If he just curved the ball in his last corner kick and if the coach substituted him in the last 20 minutes, there would have been a very different outcome.” No doubt you’re hearing professional analyzers in their prime, narrating the match as if it’s still live. With their wisdom on how each player should’ve performed, remember that at the end of the day, they always know better..
If the men need to vent about issues in their marriage, to the ahwa. Here the men will simply vent out their frustrations about the bills, the kids, the nanny, the school, and of course, the wife. You will always hear one side to the story, and we can’t say that these rantings necessarily receive a solution to their issues, but definitely the friends are now officially marriage counselors.
This isn’t specific to ahwas but rather to living in Egypt. However, given that ahwas consist of people from all walks of life into one concentrated dose of an atmosphere, unwarranted advice will arise. Men/women will lecture each other on how it is they should live their life, how they should feel, what decisions they could have made and still should make, how their partner is not the right person for them, and the list is endless.
With the increase of prices be it in gas, bread, transportation, electricity, food, and all other necessities worthy of screwing us in one way or another, be ready to hear of it at the ahwa. As a group of friends collectively share their frustrations on the ever increasing prices, still you’ll hear laughter at some point. Yet another strategy of coping and getting on with any issue is to have a good laugh at yourself and the circumstances you find yourself in. As the shisha guy brings in more coal, he might even join in on the topic and share his own two cents on the matter, making this topic one of unity.
Ahhh, the best tactic on losing friends. Add two tablespoons of religion into it, and you’re good to go. Regardless which party, belief, or politicians you support, you’ll probably be surprised with who your friends support and/or which side they’re leaning towards. Cards might be slammed on the table, fingers will be pointed, and voice levels will rise. Again, save it for the ahwa. It might be discussed over a coffee, a shisha, or over a backgammon game. At the end of the day, your friendships might strengthen, evolve, or vanish. But one thing is certain. It must be discussed.
Need the juice of the town? Need updates about people’s lives? Well, you’ll get all the latest at the ahwa. This is where people will talk either highly of others or the opposite. Information will spread faster than COVID-19, and stories of who did what, what happened to who, and who said what will mutate as it transfers from person to person, ultimately warping the original story itself. Before social media and according to no one, it is believed that all rumors in Egypt originated from an ahwa.
Didn’t we say people dream to dream at an ahwa? Since ideas are bounced off one another at an ahwa, startup ideas are also born here. Regardless how the conversation started out, friends and acquaintances come together and share their opinions on how they envision their business, of their aspirations for being their own boss and answering to no one. They might get mocked by their friends and their ideas could be ridiculed, but that’s how every great person starts. And yet, startups are still born, with or without the help of your friends. We salute you and the ahwa your startup idea spawned from!