It doesn't take long for a crowd to turn on you on the streets of Egypt these days.
A finger pointed, an accusation levelled, and you are literally running for your life.
For months now I have been hesitant to even pull my notebook from my bag when I am reporting from the street, such is the animosity against, and suspicion of, foreign journalists.
But I am lucky - I can usually move through a crowd, observe the mood, chat to a few people and leave quickly before drawing too much attention.
Not so photographers, whose cameras have become a magnet for angry crowds and security services who smash, grab and detain.
Two weeks ago I was a few blocks from Cairo's Tahrir Square, interviewing stallholders and passers-by about the constitutional referendum due to begin the next day.
I had identified myself as an Australian newspaper journalist. As people began to speak, I took out my notebook.
A middle-aged man suddenly began paying close attention to my questions - simple inquiries about what people thought of the constitution, was it better than the last one they had voted in a little over a year ago?
"You are from TV?" he asked.
"No, a newspaper," I replied, acutely alert to where the conversation was going.
"You are from Jazeera," he shouted.
"No," I insisted. "A newspaper - look," I said, gesturing around me: "I have no camera crew."
"You are a spy," he yelled, as people crowded around us and began repeating his accusations as if they were facts. And again: "You are from Jazeera."
The mood darkened. There was no possibility of negotiation, no hope of discussion. It was time to run.
I dashed through the all-but-stationary traffic, turned down a side street to avoid police gathered on one corner in case they grabbed me, and in a few short minutes I came to a roundabout where the cars were moving, flagged down a cab and went home.
It was an incident hardly worth mentioning. Unlike so many of my colleagues, I was not beaten by the crowd or detained by security forces.
It was just another day trying to report on the extraordinary wave of revolution and crackdown, fledgling democracy and repression that Egyptians are riding.
And it was another reporting exercise cut short by an angry crowd, encouraged by an interim government, backed by a powerful security establishment and fuelled by the country's media which are loudly feeding a tide of xenophobia that threatens to spill over at the slightest provocation. Like taking out a notebook, or interviewing the other side of politics.
The threat of arrest is ever-present. The detention of our colleagues from al-Jazeera - Australian Peter Greste, dual Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, along with Egyptians Baher Mohamed, Abdullah al-Shami and Mohamed Bader - weighs heavily on our minds.
The media have always had a difficult relationship with the powerful in Egypt. Repression was rife during President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule and the Muslim Brotherhood-backed government of Mohamed Mursi sought to quash criticism of his short-lived, dysfunctional administration.
But the targeting of journalists from al-Jazeera English over the network's alleged pro-Muslim Brotherhood stance - a charge denied by al-Jazeera executives - has spilt over to encompass all foreign media. I will no longer answer "sahafia" - the feminine form of ''journalist'' in Arabic - when I am asked what I do. Not since a taxi driver took a journalist straight to a police station after he revealed his profession.
Soon after the incident downtown I travelled with a photographer to Fayoum, two hours from Cairo, to report on the second day of voting in the constitutional referendum.
Groups of soldiers backed by local plain-clothes police armed with shotguns were in control of every polling booth. A judge oversaw the voting inside.
At many points during the day our every move - interviewing voters, taking photos or seeking a judge's permission to enter the room - was filmed by a soldier on his mobile phone. Our local driver was also filmed, his identity now inextricably linked to the small crew of foreign journalists he takes with extreme care from point A to point B.
During an earlier visit to the site of a bomb blast in Cairo's Nasr City, my colleague and I lasted just over seven minutes on the street observing and photographing the wreckage before police challenged our presence and it seemed the crowd could turn on us.
Only a month ago I worried that a quick visit to a protest or bomb blast site was not enough to do a decent reporting job. Now I wonder if I should go at all.
At least 12 journalists were detained and several were wounded as they tried to cover the third anniversary of the overthrow of Mubarak. Almost every journalist and photographer I know has been detained, and those of us who haven't regularly run for cover, hiding in residential buildings, ducking into cafes, talking our way into the safety of a big hotel.
The threat of being detained, or a crowd turning on us, versus the need to cover the story, is a constant debate among those of us covering Egypt.
Every day we hope we have the right answer, because one wrong move can be devastating.