Cafés are great and all, but there's nothing better than a3dit el awha.
An eternal struggle that we face on a daily basis is trying to plan out what to do or where to go every day. It becomes this chronic battle of whether to go for better food, better drinks, better shisha, better atmosphere, better seating, or better service. In the end, most of the time, you just go to the place the girl(s) pick out. Ko3 ya 3am wi edfa3 ba2a! It most likely isn’t a wallet-friendly café aslan. Then the girls go back home by 11 or 11:30 to meet their curfews and you are left with just enough money to get you back home. Bye bye, late night plans! So girls, do not be too surprised that the guys would rather go to the ahwa every day and not a café. Why? Well...
Bang For Buck
At the ahwa, tea costs 3 LE - not 10, 15, or even 20 LE. Shisha goes for a maximum of 15 LE, as opposed to a 30, 50, or some places even 80 LE per 7agar. If you hold out a menu from any café and just run through the prices in comparison to an ahwa, you would feel foolish to be throwing away all that extra money at a café. Let's not lie to each other; almost all of us know those dreadful 14 days a month when we practically have no cash aslan. You start asking yourself all these questions like: how did I go broke this quick? Where did all my money go, or was I robbed or something? You were robbed, tab3an. Even if papi was Sawires, we still wouldn’t pay 20 LE for lemonade or 25 LE for a milkshake every day. Mish meshaghalha matba3a fil beet. And guys, enough with the showing off and pretending to have all that money with you in front of the girls; balash fashkhara ya habiby. Truly, nothing beats the good old ahwa keeping your wallets full.
Service, Quality, and Loyalty
Many of you are probably thinking that the low prices will define the quality of what you are served or how well you are served. Contrary to what you guys would expect, the drinks are almost always superb and mazboot, the service is so much faster than almost any café, and - on top of that - your section has that one waiter who is always so loyal to serve you in the best possible way. Most of the time at a café you don’t really know or care to remember your waiter’s name; but at the ahwa, you get this cool variation of cool nicknames that you almost never forget, such as: Ousha, Egho, Kani, Magnoon, 3abkary, Bibsi, Fanta, Tafaha, and Bo2oo. On loyalty, these guys are always willing to die for you bgd; if they see you in a fight or in a problem nearby, they will surely be the first ones there to have your back and help you out. Nothing beats that!
Most Epic Variety of Food
When at an ahwa, you are served with beverages and shisha, but they don’t make food or mind that you get food. They are even inclined to clean up after you are done. Going to the ahwa means you can order literally anything you want from anywhere. You don’t have to worry about your friends wanting the same thing and you don’t have to worry about menu limitations. If you want to save money, there is always a kebda and sogo2 cart nearby. Bel hana wil sheffa ya sa7by.
Games, Games, And More Games
You can really play tawla like a pro; e2ros el zahr wi erza3 el oshat 3ashan ytar2a3. You start a challenging round of Estimation, Tarneeb, or Jacks. And now, most ahwas have PlayStation 3 and 4 on portable stands that are delivered straight to your table so you can play Fifa, PES, or Call of Duty. Nothing says goodbye to boredom more than a wide variety of games for everyone.
Bring Out Your Inner Child
When girls are around, guys like to put on this mask of macho manhood that symbolises strength and responsibility. The guys force themselves to resist the various opportunities to be naturally silly or act like fools, no matter how much they are dying to let go. The ahwa is like the play area for dudes; guys can act like the little children they normally work so hard to suppress. Some guys even enjoy horsing around and play fighting with each other, or even just random vulgar esfaf. In as weird a way as it may seem, the ahwa is the ultimate liberation station for guys.
No Gossip and No Drama
Not to stereotype or label all girls to be drama queens or chronic gossipers, but many girls add that element to the social equation. Almost all guys just hate that. Guys prefer to chill with friends, talking nonsense, wi ykoon shari demagho kda min elakher. The conversations could be about football, hot girls, politics, and/or any random hals wi kalam faregh; and at the end of the day, no headache is attached.
Baladeya Action Time
For those of you who do not know what the baladeya are, they are a group of government officials who go around the country picking up any unlicensed business that are utilising public properties. Most ahwas like to expand their range by increasing to chairs and tables to cover the ground. The baladeya show up once a month or so to pick up and confiscate the furniture. I know this all does not sound like much fun if you have not experienced it. But, seriously, at the moment when we know the baladeya are on their way and everyone is helping to pick up and hide everything, it is like some kind of fun action game that everyone is in on. The best part is when everyone just starts walking around pretending there was never an ahwa. It's normally not a happy event, but we always find a way to make the best out of it together.
Everyone Is A Friend
Ever have that moment at a café where a table is too noisy and annoying but you are too shy and kind to ask them to pipe down? Do you remember a time when you had no cash but still wanted to order something? When guys are dedicated to a certain ahwa and go there frequently, the ahwa becomes home and everyone becomes family. You know all the people sitting around you and you can always casually ask them to quiet down or even ask for a cigarette if you are out. The ahwa staff are no different; they become your close friends and they are always cool with you paying them later if you are low.
No Better Place to Hide
Baba afish 3aleek? Mama zeh2it minak? Sa7betak 3amlalak soda3 wi khna2 el yoom kolo? 3yz tehrab wi testakhaba? Go to the ahwa and chill with your friends, and if anyone calls you, just ignore. You can easily come up with excuses: “I was charging it far away;” “It was too noisy I couldn’t hear it ring;” or “dah kan daye3 menni walahy wi lessa la2eeh delwa2ty.” What better place to hide than your second home?
Photography by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.
Photographer: Ahmed Najeeb.