Cairene Dust

There is much sweeping of the outdoor dust in Cairo, leaving patterns from the long-stranded brooms on the city’s narrow streets and sidewalks. These sporadic attempts at neatness stand side by side with embedded rubbish and odd bits of garbage ground year after year into the broken pavement. Outside the city, at the step pyramid at Saqqara, I once watched a young man pointlessly sweeping the sand before the tomb of the vizier Mereruka with this same kind of long broom, diligently getting rid of the cigarette butts.

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