I sit in a black and white taxi next to a very large male driver. We are moving at a snail's pace through traffic. The taxi driver points at himself and says:
'Ismi Ramses, you?'
'My name is Jan'
'No' I reply, 'I am from Olanda, Amsterdam.'
'Good, very good' he says smiling and asks me if I'm a Christian.
Although I do not consider myself a religious person I say. 'Yes. I am a Christian.'
Now his smile widens and he shows me the little blue mark I have seen many Coptic Christians have tattooed on the inside of their wrist. After this he opens the dashboard cabinet in front of me and in there, between two colored pictures of saints is a little plastic figure of the holy virgin Marie with a light inside which makes her body glow. The taxi driver then pulls down the flaps above the front window and points out more pictures of churches and saints. As we drive further into his mobile shrine I ask myself why did I never tell this taxi driver and other people when asked of my religion that I am a Muslim?
Although I do not consider myself a religious person I realize my European cultural background is more Christian than I could have imagined. It is because of this I feel more at ease around Christians here. Even when I see a church, it feels strangely safe to me. Unlike back home in the Netherlands, I don't even notice the churches and feel no sense of Christianity whatsoever.
When I arrive at my destination, pay the taxi driver and step out of the car I see him closing the cabinet with the virgin mary again and pushing up the flaps before he gathers speed and plunges into Cairo traffic again.