Here is an incredibly funny and true article on cairo's true gatekeepers: the bawabeen. (Thanks Ron) The bowab, or doorman, is a spy quietly amassing a damning security file, a Koran-wielding hard-liner ready to bust up an inappropriate romantic liaison, a grudge-carrying handyman who melts into the smoggy air just when a stingy resident is most in need. Every savvy Cairene knows just how important it is to stroke, butter up and slip spare cash to the bowab. It's an Egyptian truism that the bowab sees you before you see him, and that there is no secret too small to escape his snooping. So true. Read the whole thing.