"Comparative Global Cities Project"
Ho Chi Minh City
Project 4 -- Cairo
I saw one of the biggest contrasts between the transnational and
vernacular society of all the countries that we have been to. The contrast was blatantly obvious in that the
transnational consisted of expensive hotels, international restaurant
chains, and advertisements for foreign products. Essentially,
what it came down to, is that the transnational segment of society in
Egypt that I witnessed consisted of something that was absent to most
native Egyptians. That one thing was money. I found much of Egypt to be expensive for my
taste, and I feel that this says a lot considering that, being from
America, I should be used to paying more for just about everything than
people do in most other countries.
On the other hand, there was the vernacular aspect of
society. In stark contrast with the
transnational part, money was a thing of dreams here.
People burned trash in the streets, lived in little shacks
or one room apartments, and walked around in tattered clothes much of
the time, often without shoes on. The
canals which seemed to be everywhere in Cairo, were filled with trash. In passing, on one bus ride, I saw about ten
dead horses floating in a canal piled up in front of a bridge amongst
all of the garbage. I was appalled at such
an image. There seemed to be no regard for
anything but the transnational side. There
was no attention, no interest given by the government for the
vernacular, and this is apparent mostly because, I believe, the people
have grown tired of fighting for it without success and have become
apathetic to their own cause. They no
longer appear to care enough to attempt to better their own society.
In the end, it is very obvious that Farha Ghannam was
absolutely correct in her article “Remaking the Modern” when she writes
is really two cities. Though not split
down the middle, there are no clear borders, the transnational areas
and vernacular areas could be perceived as being wholly different
cities that could not possibly be in the same locale.