1. Why did foreigners call taxis in Alexandria "flying coffins"?
The white Peugeot station wagons used for taxis in Alexandria had the nickname "flying coffins." Cynical foreigners used this nickname because they saw the taxis as abandoned carcasses of mangled steel by the sides of major roads.
2. How far had some men traveled outside the Awlad 'Ali community?
The Haj had traveled as far as Qatar. Some men had been to the cities of Alexandria and Cairo. Most men had traveled to Marsa Matruh, the largest city in the Western desert. Before the border closed, some men had even traveled to Libya. Nearly all the men occasionally attended a major sheep market to the west and did business in the non-Bedouin town to the east. Many men traveled daily to a nearby town or village.
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