"My mother spoke French with her Greek neighbors in Alexandria, at the time Egypt’s most cosmopolitan city. She skipped Catholic school to ride in a red convertible with a German girlfriend down broad boulevards. She water-skied in a swimsuit, enjoying the freedom of this city in the 1960s, when it was still a beacon of Mediterranean culture." You are supposed to read this and exclaim: wow. Her mother spoke French, which means we can trust her reporting. So what is the conclusion of her piece? That Alexandria was great twice: 1) once under colonial powers before the Egyptian Revolution allowed the poor to live there and visit; 2) under Husni Mubarak.