This is the second episode recounting my pursuit of authentic Zeqr, the Egyptian Sufi ceremony, after my first experience in a neighborhood of Old Cairo was somewhat diluted by a competing soccer match. This time, the Zeqr ceremony was supposed to be even more authentic because it was to take place on a Thursday night in a small rural village on the western banks of the Nile River called Matawat.
I am ready by the agreed-upon time of 10:30 pm, and wait for the hoarse honk of Abdel-Fattah’s (aka Kojak) rickety taxi. It sounds right on the dot; an extraordinary feat in Egypt where time-keeping is rarely part of the national DNA, and we are on our way, amidst gas fumes and an exhaust pipe ominously rattling against the Peugeot’s floorboards. My gear is primed and ready, and I am really excited at the prospect. I knew this was to be the real thing; especially since it was Badawi’s father who had arranged it for me to photograph and record the ceremony. (more…)