Fauchon’s L’éclair Rainbow (there’s some sniffing about the English word ‘rainbow’ in the title…aah, France!)
A couple of years ago I went on a short trip to Paris (promise, not all posts are going to be about Paris from now on). I was tired from a night flight but needed to stay awake. Mr S and I went out walking to stay awake and get some ice cream. As we crossed the Marais, we heard loud music. Not being the latest Nancy Ajram or Amr Diab (played so often and so loud in Cairo that there is no need to see what is going on: it’s a wedding or party at a club), I was quite excited to see what was happening. We detoured from the ice cream route and made our way over to a large crowd at the end of the street.
I realised what was happening and was knocked for six. There are times when coming to or from Egypt it’s difficult to believe that we’re only five hours away. That life can be so different in a five hour journey. I am always struck by magazines in newagents in Europe. It’s not the ‘top shelf’ selection although in my first few days I am always too embarrassed to lift my head up, it’s the covers of lads’ mags and likes of Cosmo that have scantily clad ladies: magazines in Egypt have no such covers. Standing there in Paris, I saw the gay pride march coming towards us. Fun, fun, fun! (Although Sydney does it better). How could it be though that just seven hours before I was somewhere where this march would have been absolutely impossible, even in the conception stages.
Hundreds of thoughts were swimming through my head and I couldn’t quite get a feeling for reality. It was then that I saw the banners of a group called (something like) the Parents of Gays and Lesbians in France. I started crying. I know full well the attitudes and opinions of the majority of the people I am normally surrounded by. I have had serious arguments with some of them about it. I may have at least convinced one that being homosexual does not equate to being bestial (seriously). Ultimately though, I live in Egypt and accept it for what it is. A few hours after leaving Egypt, to see parents marching down the road with large banners supporting their adult homosexual offspring was profoundly moving.
I have to cover my knees and shoulders, I have to accept that a lot of people view me as little more than a prostitute. I don’t like it, but that is just the way it goes. I don’t, however, have to hide a fundamental part of myself for fear of some pretty nasty, physically and socially, consequences. It re-brought home the suffering that some people here must go through just because they cannot be the people they are. I love Egypt, on this level however, I am much more comfortable with a society that allows self expression.
Pretty cool eclair, though, eh?