My first trip really far away from USA was to Egypt, in 2006. I could write for days about that magical place and the time I spent there, but for today, I will wax sentimental about one of the funniest things during my time there. There is a significant café culture in Egypt as it is a Muslim society and there is very little alcohol consumption. Instead they sit in cafés sipping on insanely delicious Turkish coffees, smoking sheesha(better known in this country as hookah), and eating something resembling food. They'll do this for hours while playing games and chatting, and many cafés are open 24 hours to accommodate the late night Arab lifestyle. It was shortly after I arrived for my duration there and in these cafés that I began to notice something quite consistent and quite hilarious. I kept hearing the same song everywhere I went. We all call it "the Titanic song", but the real name of that Celine Dion song is "My Heart Will Go On". You know the one, that song that brings memories of the late 90's rushing back and you remember crying at the movie theater. Don't deny it.
I literally heard this song everywhere. Not just in cafés where I spent lots of Egyptian time, but also in shopping malls, taxis, on the street, in restaurants; everywhere. It cracked me up as many Egyptians likely didn't understand the words but clearly connected with its popularity. I imagine that most Americans regard that song as at least somewhat cheesy, though it is a beautiful song. Well, cheesy is something that I have learned is lost in translation and those Egyptians loved that song. Keep in mind this is nearly ten years after the Titanic movie came out and they were jamming that song like it had just been released. I not only heard "My Heart Will Go On" in Alexandria where I spent most of my time, I even heard it hundreds of miles away in the various desert oases that I visited, and in tourist laden Red Sea resorts. It became a fixture of my time in Egypt and to this day I crack up at the frequency with which I heard it, not to mention it brings me right back to Egypt as opposed to reminding me of the movie.
I'd love to go back to Egypt and see what has changed in the past few years with the revolution and all. But I have a sneaking suspicion that "That Song Will Go On" and it's still being played like it just came out. Got to love a society that keeps it old school, and Egypt might just top that list.