I,ve become a member of the gym at the Semiramis, one of the big hotels on the banks of the Nile. It's a fitness and sauna club patronized by Egyptian men with big bellies in addition to the hotel guests. Most of these men only go to the sauna, get massages and take naps on the beds there, all wrapped up in big hotel towels.
I run there a couple of times a week on a running machine while watching television. It's "Terrorist Week" on the National Geographic channel. They show the images of the Twin Towers collapsing and blurry films of Islamic training camps. Osama bin Laden comes into view every five minutes, but besides that I also see a striking number of street scenes with ordinary Arabic-looking people in galabias, the collarless, ankle-length shirts. It's a suggestive report in which everyone who has anything to do with Islam or Arabia looks like he might be a terrorist. The man to my right places his towel on the floor. At first I think he's going to do stomach muscle exercises, but then he drops to his knees, shuts his eyes and bows towards Mecca.