Back home, after the 30th of June revolution, starting August 14th or so around that date (I am bad in remembering most dates,) when the army dispersed the Rabia sit-in (Pro-Muslim Brotherhood Demonstration;) the major Egyptian cities were put under a 7 pm curfew. I quickly mentioned what a curfew is in my previous post, but in any case, a curfew set by the government is a forced “stay at home” type of thing, where if you are caught on the streets with no good reason you should be in trouble.
The forced curfew was set from 7 pm to 6 am the following morning. And this was for about a week before the curfew was shifted to 9 pm, then a couple of weeks later it was shifted to 11 pm, and right before I left Egypt the curfew was finally at mid-night (except for Fridays, for Fridays – the main day for protests and demonstrations – the curfew was always at 7 pm.)
What people would think when this is said is ghost cities, empty streets with no one daring to go out. While this might be true for the main areas, but if you go to the insides of any neighborhood, the side streets and such, there are always cafes that are opened all night long, super markets and food shops and street vendors working until the early morning. Life went on.
Yes, the curfew did paralyze many major activities, moving from one neighborhood to the other (in Cairo) was almost impossible, let alone traveling from one city to the other – during curfew hours of course – but other than that, you were not really “forced” to stay at home. You were not going to sleep hungry if curfew hour striked and you didn’t have any food at home; home delivery was working normally, especially if the place you order from was in your neighborhood. It was even better given that there was no traffic at curfew times! Food actually arrived fast! and hot!
And then I moved to England. Sunderland to be specific. And I noticed I am following the curfew, or the curfew is following me! This might be even worse than Egypt! The city gets literally empty by 8 or maximum 9 pm, let alone for the young (and I mean young) students that are drunk and going to the clubs, which are all conveniently placed beside each other in the city center. Away from city center, you’re alone in those English streets!
And it keeps getting worse, even the places that “stay late” will close down shortly past mid-night. Pubs close down at 11 pm! Seriously England? I left Egypt to come here and find an even worse curfew than the army forced one? I left a curfew where I could get in jail for being on the streets after a certain time, to come to England and be forced to be at home at a certain time too, simple because there’s nothing else to do…This is so confusing for an Egyptian, given that Egyptians are mostly night creatures, we are more active at night and we usually start going out past 9 pm!
Well, hopefully I’ll get used to it, and I’ll get used to making sure I plan my dinner food before 6 pm when the markets close down…
Are you a night person? Do you enjoy going out more at night or in the morning? How do you cope with living a European life style with everything close down at such early hours?