Cairo Impressions

January 15, 2011

Back in Amsterdam, I dreamt last night of  movement through warm sand. Of resistance and enveloped embrace.

After my first ride from the airport into the city, after my first day of learning to negotiate walking between the honking cars,  the black and white taxis, I thought Cairo was like New York on amphetamines. But that’s not quite it. That’s not it at all.

The rushing people of New York, a city I know well,  energize the concrete they tread upon, charging it like a battery. The vectors of movement are swift, straight and forward, like the perpendicular grid that maps its territory. Sensation privileges the ocular.

Cairo feels more particular, like the sand it sits upon. With each step in this whirling metropolis one feels the circular pull of millions of granular sensations surrounding each impression. Each step is like a step on a beach or a desert floor as the sand shifts and envelops the foot from all sides. One feels in the foot the oscillation between the resistance of mass and the comforting envelopment of plural singularities, a sensual complexity of give and take. If anything, sensation excites a certain synaesthesia, a co-operative sensory mechanics necessary for navigation, orientation and communication.

I dreamt of Cairo and the desert I never managed to visit. Of walking through warm sand, feeling its pull, its attraction; feeling the extra effort of movement through granular density, experiencing the previously unfelt.



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