Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I'm getting so bad at updating this thing. Sorry, Sara. I'll blame it on our lack of internet. The guy keeps thinking that when we call (with our friend Alfred, who translates) to say we want internet, we're actually saying we'd prefer him not to come, even though he says, "I'll be there between 8 and 10 tomorrow," and then never shows up. It's very confusing, but such is Africa.

First of all, that picture I got has been destroyed by my so-called "friends". I can't seem to take a good picture of it, but let's just say that I have beautiful feminine eyelashes, a Hitler moustache, and a speech bubble coming out of my mouth that says, "I'm a Jew. I don't like spending money, but I will LICK YOUR ANUS DRY!!"

Brian took this picture. It's his elbow.

Other than that, we haven't been doing much at all here since school started. We've got a lot of travel plans in the works, however, since we're slowly realizing that it's already the second month of our semester here, and we have a lot of stuff to see. We keep throwing names out there of places we want to see - Beirut! Syria! Jordan! Israel! Morocco! Libya! Turkey! The Sudan (Tara swears she has a friend who can get us in for 17 dollars, but that seems crazy for a multitude of reasons)! Alexandria! Luxor! - and the list keeps growing without us seeing any of them. However, a group of us are having a potluck dinner tonight at our place to discuss and fully plan our trip in two weeks to... some of these places. I don't want to name which ones, since it makes my mom nervous, so you'll hear all about it when I get back, and probably not much before we leave. But I swear it's as safe as Cairo, Mom.

I realize that Ramadan is exactly halfway completed and I haven't really written much about what it's like, so I should probably do it. I haven't seen that many examples of people getting irritable during the day from fasting, with the exception of a few actual street-side fistfights. Most businesses shorten their hours or shut down completely during the month - the majority of the restaurants are not open during the day unless their main clientele are foreigners - and it's a bit uncomfortable trying to eat in secret. I usually more or less fast during the day and then just eat when I'm back at my apartment, to avoid having to hide it. It's not that you get in trouble for eating during the day, it's just that it's completely rude to chow down or take a big swig of your water in front of someone who's starving. At night, the city goes kind of crazy. The sidewalks are crammed with tables for the huge communal iftar meals after sunset, fireworks are usually going off somewhere, and a crazy woman bangs a drum and screams below my window every night for almost half an hour starting at 3 AM. I hate her.

Apartment life in Cairo is more or less the same as back home, with a few more inconveniences. In the time it's taken me to write this, I've had to answer the door twice and tell two separate guys I did not want them to do my laundry. We're amassing business cards like our lives depend on it. The other day, I discovered an enormous colony of ants that had moved into our kitchen. There must have been at least five thousand. Beckett and I went absolutely crazy on the little guys - first we sprayed them with bug spray, then we left a trail of pepper along the path they were taking to throw off their scent, then we just stomped on them, followed by a heavy dousing of Oust, then just some good-old-fashioned flames, and finally just soap and water to clean up the billions of pathetic ant corpses. It was actually really fun. In hindsight, perhaps keeping our garbage in a flimsy cardboard box on the floor with no garbage bag was a bad idea.

Last Friday, Allyson and I went to Alexandria with a class field trip. Unfortunately, we had been up until 4 AM the morning before, and we had to get up at 6 to catch the bus. We both woke up in time, but since the entire trip consisted of 10 hours on a bus with only about 1 hour total off the bus, we slept throughout the whole thing. We did get to see Alexandria, which looks really comfortable and laid-back, the point where the Nile hits the Mediterranean, and a big hole in the ground people are claiming will turn out to be Cleopatra's tomb. When we stopped to see where the Nile meets the Mediterranean, our security guard told us we were absolutely not allowed to take a picture of the military operations out the left side of the bus. Which naturally means he was challenging us to take the highest-quality picture out the left side of the bus. The second his back was turned, I snapped a picture of the "secret military operations", which were actually just some big concrete things sitting in the sand. Awesome!

You are not allowed to look at this picture.

Allyson can't believe she just re-discovered Cleopatra's tomb.

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