SoThere I was in the scorching, afternoon, summer heat of Cairo. It was a huge change from the UK’s mild weather, and together withthe fact that I had been fasting - as inno food or drink- for 15 hours by that point didn’t make it any easier to handleonly made things worse. I looked around; the sun was quickly disappearing behind the towering apartment blocks that surrounded me. The taxi had dumped me here after taking what was clearly aa clearly circuitous route to squeeze me of every penny I had,every penny out of me; I had cringed as I sawwatched the number creeping upon the meter creeping up, but there wasn’t much I could dohave done. I had two suitcases and no idea where to go. I felt a painful emptiness in my stomach. My throat was completely parched from a lack of water and the desert air, heavy with sand, only made things worse. Each breath I took filled my nostrils with the pungent smell of rotten food given off by the overturned skips at every street corner.
I walked for what seemed like hours but was probably closer to 30 minutes. I would ask one person for directions and once I’d get to where they told me, I’d ask again and be told to turn around and walk back to where I came from.
Each step filled my shoes with more sand, until I felt I had the entire desert in my shoes, and soaked my shirt with sweat which made it feel as if it was super glued to my backWith each step, my shoes filled with more sand until the whole desert seemed to be in there, and sweat drenched my shirt so that it stuck to my back, as if glued there. So far Egypt was hardly the paradise I remembered from my youth and the insistent buzzing of the flies in my ear made it difficult to remember what good I thought I had seen in this country.
Suddenly the booming voice of the Athan, the Muslim call to prayer, resonated around me. It marked the time for the evening prayer and, more importantly, the time for me to break my fast. That thought only made me hungrier and I thought I heard an audible rumble coming from my stomach. I continued to drag my feet through the various streets in the area squinting at each building number, desperately hoping to see mine, but to no avail. Eventually I decided to ask at a shop I had passed a few times, as I neared it a man pointed to the ground next to him “Here,” he offered “sit and break your fast us.” In one hand he held a bottle of water, in the other a mango. No feeling could come close to the ecstasy I felt when I sunk my teeth into the sweet, succulent mango. This man who looked like he could barely afford the clothes on his back was freely sharing his food with me, it was a beautiful gesture and at that moment it was a lot easier to remember why I had decided to come back here.
Guidelines for the critique:
- How descriptive is it? How well does it perform as a descriptive piece of writing?
- How compelling is it? Does it make you want to keep on reading?
- How cliche is it?
- How well does it portray a change in perspective? As in how well do you get a sense that the character's persepective about the country changes from the beginning of the essay until the end
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