25 January, 2010

Walk Like An Egyptian

Or don't. That's just as good. I mean, honestly walking like an Egyptian is certainly one way to get yourself killed.

If I thought Czech drivers were bad with swerving to avoid the trams, then I was very wrong. I don't think anything can be as bad as Egyptian drivers. With them, there really aren't any rules of the road. They seem to think it is better to just follow the flow of traffic and avoid all sorts of traffic signals. Yeah...about that...that's all fine and dandy, except for the fact that when it comes to crossing the street, it feels like you are in a game of Frogger. You kind of move out to the center of the street when there aren't any cars coming and then continue in the pattern until you reach the other side. I guess it's no surprise that their traffic fatalities rate is 44 times that in the US. I'm just going to be extremely careful when crossing the street.

In other news, I'm finally starting to adjust to life here in Cairo. It is a very different city than any place I've ever experienced. It's a bit dirtier than most cities and definitely much louder. Car horns and light flashing are becoming a part of my normal life here and my lifestyle is adapting as well...you know stuff like, showering at night, walking in the street instead of on the sidewalk, and going to class on Sunday.

Thus far, my time here has been pretty good. Sunday we started our first day of orientation. It was pretty basic. We went over the regulations and such.Then we went on a tour of our neighborhood and took the metro just to experience the metro. Later on that night, we took a dinner cruise down the Nile where we met most of our Arabic professors and chatted with them in Arabic. Oh man are my Arabic skills rusty...but not only are they rusty, but I also keep confusing them with Czech. Wonderful! After the dinner, I returned to talk to Geoff and my parents before crashing. I was wiped.

Today was only the second day of orientation, but it already feels like I've been here for a while. We went over our academic requirements and then we met the rest of our professors from the Arab Academy. And then, we took the dreaded Arabic Proficiency exam. I'm unsure as to how well I did, but just taking it made me want to cry. I only remember so much of what I was taught and I'm pretty sure that was shown through my performance. Luckily, there isn't a grade for this exam and it is just used as placement.

So, after my test I attempted to navigate myself back to my apartment with no help from anyone. I got lost a little bit, but eventually found my way back to Mesaha Square where I live. On the way back, I ran into Will, the other student with me in the Egyptology program, and Garrett, one of my flatmates, and they invited me to tag along with them and Tyler, the AMIDEAST intern, to see the Egypt v. Cameroon soccer game at the King Hotel because the Egyptians were in the Africa Cup and this was a big deal.

It was a lot of fun! African soccer is very different from any other kind of soccer I've seen. It's slow enough to have a conversation with someone and yet, interesting enough to watch when something is about to happen. We sat with these two very nice Egyptian men who talked with us a little in Arabic and helped us learn some new things. I also got to try an Egyptian beer called "Stella". (I thought that girls couldn't really drink, but apparently drinking is a class thing, not a gender thing.) I had a great time and EGYPT WON!!!! There were fireworks over Cairo and honking more than normal. They are headed to the semi-finals now and it should be fun!

After the game had ended, we wandered over to Tyler's apartment where we had some very delicious food. We then just chilled and talked about a number of different things. I feel that this semester is going to be a good one. We may not be as tight as the FAMU kids were, but I will certainly enjoy all of my time here. I just know it.

P.S.- Pictures and apartment house keeping is on the way. So, don't think that I've forgotten, I just haven't uploaded pictures and such just yet. It will be coming. Especially, after the trip to the pyramids on Saturday!


  1. So funny, I totally just saw that soccer game on TV at a Middle Eastern restaurant here in Seattle. I was all, ya Misr! I remember being in Cairo when Egypt won the Africa Cup in 2008, total rioting in the streets, but the good kind. ^^ I hope you have a good time in Cairo, let me know if I can help you out at all with Egypt advice (can't think of any off the top of my head, but if anything comes up).

    Also where is Mesaha Square? Is that in Doqqi?

  2. Yup, that's in Doqqi. I'm right on Mesaha square, just down the street from the Cilantro and across from the Hotel Safir.