To some people it is a disgrace, to others it is the worst place to meet up, to few it is a nightmare, to us it is love.
The ahwa. Le Cafe. The boys' hangout. The cell. The transformation. The people. The bond. The orchestra. The pact. The care. All in all it is a part of our lives....
Through the years, there have been some in and outs, let me present you the loyal ones. In loyal I mean someone who is both consistent and efficient; has been a regular member in the past 3 years....
Hesham Foda. (The Egyptian James Bond) The reason I wrote his name (Hesham) is because he likes it like that, but I like it more when it is Hisham.
Anyway, Foda is as striking as a thunder bullet and twisted as the devil. He is a lawyer and a gifted chap. If it was up to him, he would have left the ahwa years ago running on both hands and feet, because he hates to hang there, but he is kind of forced to come and sit there every night. Therefore he counts as a regular member. He likes to spend money on nice cuisine. He would love living in hotels and cannot jog much because he has an extra cartilage in his feet (that was always his excuse). He sure knows how to use guns and he has a white swimming suit that he denies ever wearing. He wears a black Airwalk since 1997 and is convinced that it is his luck charm as it grabs the girls around him. The first time I met him was in 1997 at a Biology class I was taking; and he was wearing those Airwalk shoes.
Ibrahim Riad. (Heema) Oh to understand him, you will need a million years. Heema is a lovely person. He carries all the secrets and dirt of every member, yet no one knows anything about him. Heema is a silent person. He sits, smokes his shisha and drinks his pepsi and sometimes eats; that’s it. He is a network administrator and we consider him the richest of the bunch. He spends 10 pounds per day maximum; his phone bill is almost LE 120 per month so that makes him a spender of an amount that is considered in the reign of LE 450 to LE 500 per month. He is rich isn’t he? My dad calls him the last good man in this world and he is the only one who says '2fandem'. If he likes a girl, he would look at her non-stop with fire coming out of his eyes. You could smell death and rays coming out and it is freaky! The first time I met Ibrahim was in school in 1996.
Ahmed Abbas. (Biso) and some people call him (Besso) This is Mr. Casanova. He is the one girls love to have him around. He is a former Boxing Champion. He is the king of DVD's. His car must break down every week and he was the General Manager of Velvet Lounge in Marina. He is the only one in the group who smokes shisha with flavor 'Cherry' and drives a 'RED' car. YES A RED CAR! He is a born Leo but doesn't act like one. He loves taking pictures of himself and displaying it on hi5. His email is 'biso4ever' and he listens to pop and trance. The first time I met Ahmed was in 2000 at uni.
Wael Hassan. (Willy) My dad calls him 'The Doctor'. Wael is a Financial Analyst and cheers for a small club in England called Liverpool. He used to be a former Fencing Champion and he wears glasses every time we go watch a movie. He is a very slow eater and a slower person in general. He carries a Canadian passport that he never used and loves to drink sugarcane (2assab) anytime in the day. He used Not to wear white shoes in the city because of the dirt. He usually doesn't go down in the middle of the week because he sleeps early and he has a cat named SIMBA. The first time I met Wael was in 1992 at school.
Khaled Moussa. (Moussa) The genius. The smartest person in the group. Khaled is an engineer and he considers himself a shining star in this world. He talks a lot and his major problem is that he expects a lot from people and this is impossible in the real world. Khaled traveled to the whole world and he always complains about the food he is served at any place, it is either 'there is extra oil or extra vinegar, or not enough cheese, etc…' Khaled unlike all of us when we were kids chose chess as his sport and hobby. He also claims we are a boring group and that he wasted 7 years of his life with losers. Are we losers? :) The first time I met Khaled was in 1999 at the club but I actually called him in 1998 to fight because I heard some stuff, but the battle was not meant to be.
Hatem Al Deeb. (Tommy or Deyabi) The wise man. Tommy is a huge Manchester United supporter and his only setback is cheering for Juventus. Hatem is the king of heavy metal and can get you any album / movie from the internet world. He is not only working in the advertising business but he is also an excellent striker and goalkeeper. Tommy used to play field hockey for a long time and he speaks fluent French. He is the king of sleep as the afternoon nap to him is more precious than Demi Moore. He loves Pepsi a lot too. His nickname on msn is Mr. Marlboro Man and he just loves going to the sea and wearing shades. Hatem works with a girl named Nilz and guy named Patates. The first time I met Hatem was in 1998 at Ma3moura!
Ayman Nawar. (Aymoon) Mr. Lovva Lovva. Ayman is currently on a diet. He works in the real estate industry. We work in the same building but neither of us visited one another before. Ayman loves driving for 900 km to sit by the sea. He smokes Kent and appreciates beauty; that means nice looking girls. He is dying to watch The Fast and The Furious 3 and he bought a comfortable black shoe 2 months ago. He isn’t into noise or football and had 4 different Hyundai cars! He witnessed with me 'the melting fart', something that comes out every 10 years. He has a friend named Sameh who is always smiling and observing every single thing around him while walking. The first time I met Ayman was in 1998 at Ma3moura too!!
Hazem Sorour. (Zoom) We appeared in the same photograph in 1987. This dude is an Arsenal fan. He loves eating eggs with me at 7 am in the early morning AND liver sandwiches at 3 am in the heart of the night. Hazem is out of his house all day. He is always on the move. He is an engineer by degree but is yet to be employed. He walks around with Panadol tablets. He is the biggest Metallica fan alive. He knows how to sing and could change his voice easily. He has the worst mobile number in Egypt. He loves the Shisha. He has a friend named George who knows nothing about Manchester United and food. The first time I met Hazem was in 1986 at school.
Some people depart for numerous reasons. Either they are bored, either they are busy with other aspects in life, or they just left the country. Those missing people will long be remembered for their contributions and it will always be an honor for them to have represented the ahwa on a regular basis like the 'loyal ones' mentioned above.
Ahmed Magdy. (Magdy) The tall guy with large hands. The first one of us to marry. Ahmed works as an engineer. He is a crazy driver but he loves to go eat liver and sogo2 anytime and anywhere. He speaks fluent French and German. He appeared on TV before. The best thing about him is that he is very traditional and not into the funky changes in life but he was forced before to go watch 'Legally Blonde'. The first time I met Ahmed was in 1999 at the ahwa.
Karim Hassan. (Lloyz) The vampire. Karim is one crazy creative dude that works in advertising. He plays the guitar and also wears black all the time. He used to refuse going down in the morning afraid of the sun and he wanted to pierce his eyebrow. He works with me in the same building and sometimes surprises me with his surfing outfit. The Ahwa owners before used to call him 'El 7aramy' (the thief) because he used to come and sit and then leave without ordering or paying anything. He can also copy the face of a boring lion. The first time I met Karim was in 1999 at university.
Abdallah Mohsen. (Abood) and many call him (Al Naqa) This guy is one of the nicest dudes I ever met in my life. He is in Kuwait now working in a big marketing company. Abood is a legend in playing cards and wears baggy pants and rappers' clothes. He is an Arsenal fan and the way he loves Henry is scary. The first time I met Abdallah was in 2000 at university.
Omar Abd El Bary. (Bary) The rebel. He hates Egypt. He is now living in the States. He is a Political Science freak. He loves Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. He dreamt of Che Guevara before. He is a very sensitive guy and he is always full of stories so you will never get bored. The great things about him is that he LOVVVVES Jim Carrey and Seinfeld. Actually he was known in highschool for dubbing Jim Carrey and people used to stop him for entertainment. He never liked the ahwa. He never liked the people. He believes in love and war. The first time I met Omar was in 1992 at school.
Taqui Abdin. (Tico) Oh Oh Oh!! Taqui used to be a ballerina as a kid. He used to also sing in the opera and practiced rowing for 7 years. He smokes a different brand of cigarettes every day and his general knowledge is massive. His mom is a teacher and his dad is a professor. He is a caster sugar addict. He is an engineer now living in Germany and he just got a new girlfriend, so GOOD LUCK MAN! The first time I met Taqui was in 1993 at school and he came to my birthday that year and ate green beans with spaghetti. :)
Mohamed Nour. (Light) This guy is pumpin' up muscles and making money all day. You will bump into him whenever there is music as he is always shaking it all over Cairo. A former Water Polo champion and a bad footballer. He works in a bank and could talk about cars all day. The first time I met Mohamed was in 1986 at school.
Ayman Sadek. (Ayouma) This guy lost more than 110 kilos, so he has the will. We studied together in 2 different countries. He loves clubbin'. He loves the Shisha. He was the first one of us to get internet connection in the last decade. He is trustworthy. He is currently in Oman working in Finance. He is not into football and loves to go to Spain every summer. He had a cool t-shirt 10 years ago 'Buttweiser' that everyone loved. The first time I met Ayman was in 1990 at Al Falaj Hotel in Oman. I miss him.
Mohamed Hisham Kandeel. (Bo2ga) A Real Madrid fan. He has a white Kappa shoe. He is currently getting all muscular because he thinks that the girls will dig him that way. He dives in Sharm. His music taste is bad bad bad. He can play football. He is an economist. He is not that good in playstation. He is a very weird guy, sometimes I dont understand him. He could disappear for years and then show up. The first time I met Mohamed was in 2000 at university.
Youssef ___. (Joe) The Englishman who is living in Egypt. Youssef is blond. He works in finance. He cheers for Arsenal. He loves the playstation. He is the only one of us who is living in Maadi (that says something). He loves London and England and he once painted the Egyptian flag colors on his face. And that's the only picture I could find for him. The first time I met Youssef was in 1999 at the ahwa.
Mohamed Hodroj. (Hody) The first guy from El Alsson School to fail in an English course at university. Mohamed is Lebanese and currently studying in Canada. He used to love Alice Deejay and wanted to be a Kung Fu fighter. He makes fun of people and he gave me the nickname 'Geee' when I had my afro. He once swallowed a cockroach by mistake. He borrowed my scanner in 2002 and he still never gave it back. The first time I met Mohamed was in 1992 at school.
Kamel Agha. (Kiki) The businessman. The 2nd guy to get married. He changes his mobile daily and will never admit he is wrong. He met Nelson Mandela as a kid and must drive a 4 wheel car. He has the worst music taste in the world and is pro Nasser like me but puts too much sugar on tea unlike me. He loves the Ma3moura like me but wears Gucci unlike me. The first time I met Kamel was in 1999 at university.
Amr Adel. (Amoura) Amr is a moody person. He is smart. He reads more than 6 different papers daily. He loves buying the papers at night (1st edition). He studied advertising after 4 years in medicine. He took his high school diploma from Hungary. He created his first email account in 2006. He wants to be a diplomat. And that is the best pic I could find for him. The first time I met Amr was in 1996 at the club.
Ahmed Alaa. (Alaa) Ahmed is cool. He claims I have a bad taste in movies. He is an engineer who is always creating a philosophy for his life, and loves to debate. He hates football. He loves the beach. He is one of the few people to get affected from Cancer at an early age (but he is cured thank God). He didnt like Donnie Darko and most of his friends are all french-speaking dudes. The first time I met Ahmed was in 2001 at the ahwa.
My Singaporean friend. (Name and picture removed as per request). He loves and respects Shisha. He is chocoholic. He speaks good Arabic and is still not married. He is a pro journalist and editor. He loves the sofa. He likes tea with milk in the morning and could spend 12 hours straight at the ahwa. He got me a Manchester United flag that I love very much. The first time I met my Singaporean friend was in 1999 at an internet cafe.
Aly Habib and Ismaily Waly. (Songary and Som3a) We call them Chip and Dale. Aly is a duck hunter. Som3a loves listening to French rap. Som3a grew an afro with me 5 years ago and we both shaved it off on the same day. They both love Hurghada and always insult one another. Aly just graduated after 6 years and Ismail is still a student. The first time I met Aly and Ismail was in 1992 at school and in 2000 at the ahwa respectively.
Mostafa Nour. (Moustapha) That's how he writes his name. Nour is very very calm. He is an Engineer and currently living in the States. He cannot eat a Kit Kat Peanut Butter Bar while driving since he won't enjoy it much. He is athletic but remains weird due to his over calmness. He is a very decent guy and his beard grows every 10 seconds. The first time I met Mostafa was in 2000 at the ahwa.
Mohamed Aboushady. (Aboushady, Zabady, Shadooz) One of the guys I really grew up with. He always dreamt of driving a Corvette. He loves to draw and he has a fish bowl in his room. He is studying interior design after changing 3 different universities and hopes one day he will live in Italy. He runs very fast and he loves TLC. He used to make a lot of house parties during highschool that we all loved and enjoyed. The first time I met Mohamed was in one nice eighties' summer at Ma3moura.
Hatem Saleh. (Tommy) This creative designer is a cool guy who loves different kinds of music. He likes going to the cinema and loves Apple computers. We shared the same school bus. He is a good defender of the ball and he once shaved his head bold. He likes going to fancy places with his friends (the girls) and I always make fun of that. And I KNOW IT IS FUNNY but it is ME who shot that pic. The first time I met Hatem was in 1992 at the school.
Omar Akl. (Kabba) The 3rd guy to get married. Omar is married to a Brazilian and he is currently living in London. He looks and acts like Droopy (Master Detective) and knows how to dub his voice. He has different philosophies of life and he wanted to sing with me a Backstreet Boys song in the 1997 Talent Show at school. Omar is naturally dumb. We were stuck before in the same elevator with a Sudanese guy after it crashed down from the 7th floor. (No offense to Sudanese people; half of my relatives are Sudanese, but the guy was just weird). He knows how to cook and he enjoys farting. The first time I met Omar was in 1996 at school.
Fady Nagy. (Fady 2000 or Figo) Mr. I know it all! Fady is currently in the States making money and managing a pub. A good football player. A body builder. A fast driver. A very slow eater. He talks very slowly with a wise tone that makes you want to break his neck. His used to fill his hair with Palmers Coconut and put on Tommy Hilfiger perfume all the time. He used to drive for hours behind girls he didnt know and sometimes he was lucky and sometimes not. The first time I met Fady was in 1992 at school.
Shady Marwan. (Chady) This engineer is always on the move. He loves working out in the gym. He loves diving. He loves skiing. He loves surfing. He loves to nag. He speaks French. He lived for a year in China. He is wearing a cap most of the time. He drinks cinnamon with milk everytime he comes to the ahwa. The first time I met Shady was in 2000 at the ahwa.
Mohamed Serour. (Serour) No Picture Available. This engineer is living in Kuwait. He is the biggest Ahly fan alive and also attached to Arsenal. He hates Zamalek more than Israel and loves the Shisha. Serour's mind is not easy to read and he is into philosophy and good movies. I used to kick every part of him in playstation. We both love the same music and that makes us brothers. The first time I met Mohamed was in 1999 in the Accounting class at university.
Sherif Ramzy. (Ramzy) The actor. The celebrity. The talented boy. He loves drawing. He loves making fun of everyone. He loves the Shisha. He is a Zamalek fan. He is a good goal keeper. He listens to Arabic music. He owned a Polaris Beach Buggy 13 years ago. His jokes make everyone laughs big time. We shared the same school bus and he once overslept when we were kids and if the driver wasnt a good man, he would have raped him. He witnessed with me the greatest quote of all time 'Once Emphysema, always Emphysema.' We used to attend New Years eve at his place and eat the best Shrimp Cocktail. The first time I met Sherif was in 1992 at school.
As we are getting old; the new generation arised to follow in our footsteps. There is a group that reminds me of the old days that I shared with my friends on the ahwa. The new people are very friendly and are part of our group now, but we still label them as newcomers even though they have been sitting for almost 3 years now with us, but they are younger than us in age and still studying, and it is nice to be older than someone! *Grin*
Maged Negm. (Negm) He is a little king. He is an engineer. He is very smart and smokes shisha 24/7. He eats McDonalds and Smileys Grill every day, but that is expected from someone with the name of 'Maged'. The first time I met Maged was in 2003 at the ahwa.
Hossam El Ghazaly. (Sasso) and (Zuli) He is a good footballer. He loves Hed Kandi. He is also an engineer and wants to be a DJ. His favorite quote is 'Sex is my life' and he also loves the Shisha. The first time I met Hossam was in 2003 at the ahwa.
Taher Refaat. (Taher) He is a playboy. He started smoking cigarettes recently and he loves Marina more than anything and refuses to travel anywhere else. He is a regular member of Gold's Gym and wants to manage The Velvet Lounge next summer. He is Mr. Elegant. He must shower before coming to the ahwa. And he is also an engineer. The first time I met Taher was in 2003 at the ahwa.
Khaled Mamdouh. (Mamdo) GREAT footballer. He looks sleepy. He is very kind and very quiet. He is not an engineer like his previous friends. He wears FCUK. He is coming back from Dubai in a few days (he is our hope in the Ramadan football tournament). The first time I met Khaled was in 2003 at the ahwa.
Ahmed Meshry. (Meshry) A computer science dude. He loves Inter Milan. He loves the Shisha. The first time I met Ahmed was in 2003 at the ahwa.
Who are the real heroes behind all this? Let's take a quick look.
Aly Gamal. (Aly) He is the owner. The first time I met Aly was in 1998 at Sadek Cafe, our former ahwa. He worked hard to make the money and go solo. He is a Zamalek fan and he hates our noise.
Nasser. (Nasser) He is the funniest. Nasser came to the ahwa in 2004. He is one of those Ahly fans who knows nothing about football. He is in control of taking our orders. He never sleeps. He works in the ahwa at night and in a Petroleum company when the sun is in the middle of the sky.
Yasser. (Yasser) He is a Zamalek fan. He is in control of the kitchen. He makes good tea and good lemon juice. He is very quiet and rarely speaks. Yasser joined the staff in 2004.
Zoheir. (Zoheir) He is the tallest. He works in the Shisha Department. He follows international football and he likes Arsenal. He has a long nail in his little finger that could kill you. Zoheir joined the staff last year.
Hany. (Hany) No Picture Available. He is the quietest. He works in the Shisha Department. He is a decent guy. He joined last year.
Medhat. (Medhat) No Picture Available. I think he is the tallest. He also looks like Beavis. He is in control of the Shisha Department. He makes the best shisha. He is in the ahwa since 2003. He is a good guy.
Mohamed. (Mozza) No Picture Available. He is a very confused guy. Sometimes he takes the orders and sometimes he joins the Shisha staff and sometimes he is in the kitchen. I dont get him. He has the wierdest nickname ever 'MOZZA'. He is one of the very first people to join the ahwa in 2003.
Walid. (Willy) No Picture Available. The co-owner with Aly. Just like Aly, Walid started in Sadek Cafe in 1998 and both students rebelled and formed their own ahwa; YA HALA. Walid took his degree from Cairo University and we both got the army exemption together in 2003, the same year for Ya Hala to see the light.
P.S. I didnt mention many names (The Bosaty triplets from our bunch and Souka, Hashem, Osman, Teefa, Beheiry, Mahmoud, Hosny, Shalaby, etc... from the newcomers to name a few) because there are major consistency lapses in their attendance and performance but they all get the warm welcome whenever they set foot in the ahwa.
P.S.S. I would like to thank everyone I mentioned and everyone I forgot to mention. Thank you for forming with me a Big Family that will always be alive. I would like to thank my parents for not preventing me from this ahwa life that I started at the age of 13. I thank them for giving me the freedom and trusting my decisions.
I love you all!!