"Where do you live?" said the driver.
"Do you have an Egyptian boyfriend?"
For a moment I wasn't sure I had understood him. then I thought he must have thought that I was living here with an Egyptian.
"No, I have an Australian husband."
"Give me your mobile." This was said with such authority that I was reaching for it before I even thought about it. Then I realised how idiotic this was.
"Why?" I asked.
So I can put your number in mine and give you my number so I can be your boyfriend."
I said very clearly that I did not want a boyfriend and ignored him. His hand was creeping down the back of the passenger seat towards my knee so I hauled my large bag of shopping onto my knee, feeling somewhat pleased when it belted him on the hand.
When we pulled up I handed him ten pounds as I got out. Now this was well and truly enough for the fare and in fact about twice what a local would pay.
"Not enough" he shouted.
Then added "I don't want you for my girlfriend, you don't pay enough!"
At this stage my large and very serious looking guard, Ahmed, was heading towards the car looking decidedly focussed on the driver, so he took off. Ahmed apologised for the badness of some Egyptian men.
I am OLD. Too old anyway for any off this nonsense and I get so fed up with it. I am well past the average use-by date, large (though that is often an asset here)and have no pretensions to beauty. Mind you, this guy was no catch and was missing most of his front teeth.
I can't answer questions privately when they are added as comments. So - answers for some of you for whom I don't have email addresses. If you want a private answer give me an address in the text of the comment.
For the query about genital covers - I don't know why they put them on babies - actually both sexes wear them but they are different. It is not a Middle East tradition, and no longer a tradition anywhere as far as I know. The pieces in the photos are antiques from Sri Lanka, and they had them in Malaysia too.
Now my very good friend Helen from Canberra - you are just NOT to say that it has not been a good week. I have been worrying for days. Please tell me by email what is happening to you.
I howled with laughter over my son's blog with the triple soup! He writes brilliantly - as do Tabbi and my other daughters, Karmen and Kim. Isn't it lovely when your children can surprise and amaze you with their talent?
More later - I have LOTS of photos of St Simeons and the Citadel in Aleppo (both Syria).
Click on the photo below for a set of photos on the road to Aleppo.
Click on the photo below for a set of photos of the Beit Wakil Hotel.
Click on the photo below for a set of photos of the Citadel.
Click on the photo below for a set of photos of St Simeons.