Monday, August 27, 2007

All Tutted Out

Remember what I said about not being able to remember the day before? This one is going to be difficult. I don't remember anything before my Survival Arabic class. And I don't remember if I've written anything about Survival Arabic yet, but it's awesome. We're all really learning a lot in such a short amount of time, and our teacher is really good. She clearly cares a lot about teaching (she's been teaching for, like, twenty years, but I truly thought she was only 30 years old until she told us her birthday today - she's 44). I feel like I can actually get around now. Today she taught us the most important thing - how to tell the cab driver to drive to the church across the street from our dorm, since no cab drivers know the dorm, but everyone knows the church.

After Arabic, I went up to my room, intending to sleep. Since sleep isn't done here, however, the second I left my room to go to the bathroom, I ended up going out to eat with two guys from my floor, Ian and Matt, and one from the floor below us, Eric, who is from Boston but is actually a freshman undergrad here - he's only in the first week of his four years at AUC! We went to this place that had really good pizza and ended up getting three large pizzas for the four of us. Eric can eat like me, so the two of us probably put away a pizza each.

Right before we had finished, Ian's friend from when he was here at AUC two years ago (he's 24 and he's practically a walking Cairo guidebook) called him to tell him he had just driven into town from Siwa. We knew people were going to this awesome place downtown that looks exactly like the kind of seedy bar Indiana Jones would hang out in, so he offered to pick us up, to save us from having to fork over the 25 cents each it would cost for a cab ride. When we got downtown, there was actually a rather large group of people, but people started leaving pretty soon after we got there, since it was already kind of late. I ended up going back to the dorm in a little bit with Emily E and Harty, a girl from my Arabic class. Emily regaled us with stories of some of the most embarrassing things I've ever heard, and we were so distracted that we drove right by the dorm. We then spent about ten minutes trying to direct our cab driver back to the dorm, even though we were totally lost. At one point he yelled out, "Oh my God!" He was pretty pissed with us.

I later found out that my cell phone fell out in my pocket in the cab. I've heard stories of people losing things in cabs and the drivers bringing them back the next day or later that night, but once I knew it was gone, I was sure there was no chance this guy would bring it back. He hated us. So now I have to buy a new phone, and I've lost everyone's numbers. Crap.

The next morning, I got up and met Emily, Harty, and Emily's boyfriend who is in town until Saturday, to go to the Cairo Museum. First we went out to lunch, and Ellen joined us. Ellen is also in my Arabic class (our class is filled with all the coolest people), but she's missed the past two days because she was bit by a possibly-rabid cat. So the doctor at orientation wasn't lying! She's fine, but she has to keep going back to the hospital to get the series of rabies shots. And now we're all on edge around these cats, which are literally everywhere. Cats just stroll around even inside the dorms - these Egyptians take their love of cats way too far. So anyway, we had lunch, where I tried for the first time the local mango juice. And now I'm addicted. It's mango season here, and I've heard stories about how great it is, but I had yet to experience it. There's no way I'm going to drink anything else until mango season ends.

Ellen went back to the dorm to risk more feline attacks, while the four of us headed off to the museum. We ended up paying some dude standing outside to take us on a tour of it, since we had only an hour and a half before class. But it quickly became apparent that the guy only studied some things, and he knew nothing except what he had memorized. He'd fly past all sorts of cool, 6000-year-old stuff, and whenever we stopped to ask him about stuff, he'd obviously get very upset, and then would just lie. Between the four of us, we knew more Egyptian history than him, so it was really easy to see when he was simply making things up. Eventually, we told him we had to leave earlier than we thought, paid him way more than we should have had to, and then did the museum on our own. The place is definitely a multi-trip spot. It's impossible how much stuff they have. They literally have just thrown things in corners because there is too many artifacts. Emily and I made sure to touch as much of it as we could, because there's nothing better than touching old crap, right? One of the coolest exhibits was, of course, King Tut's room. We got to see his famous golden mask, which was beautiful. And they had all the golden jewels and stuff that were on him when he was buried. It was staggering how rich these people were. We didn't see any mummies, because it costs extra and we figured we'd save that for day two at the museum. But if there's a way to touch some old dead crap, I'm definitely going to do it.

Then we all ran to Arabic class (with the exception of Emily's boyfriend, of course). Afterward, a small group of us went out to a bar for dinner, where we had some awesome food. We chose the place based solely on the fact that it had spring rolls, and Tara and I had been talking about Chinese food since we first met.

I really need to get better with these pictures. We tried our best to sneak our cameras into the museum, but it seems practically impossible. They've very thorough in their searches - the guard literally had his hand on my genitals several times. We did see one guy who had a camera phone taking a picture in the museum, and when a guard started yelling at him and demanding the phone, the guy just gave him a bribe and the matter was settled. Classic Cairo.


honeybunny said...

I am beginning to understand your love for this place.
"the guard literally had his hand on my genitals"


Anonymous said...

Did you ever think of calling your cellphone? Works in the movies!