13 March, 2010

فين الأتوبيس؟

[Translation: Where's the bus?]

At the moment I am sitting here in my nice cool apartment, sipping on my mango colada juice, and realizing that I am completely exhausted from today and everything else this week. I'm also realizing just how many times I've tried to write this post and have failed. Oh well. 

I know I explained a little on Monday about the week, so I'll just do a quick recap and then I'll move onto the more recent stuff. But, it's been an exhausting week. 

Alrighty, so let's take this post back a little bit. Let's go back to the "Egyptian Wedding", which I found out wasn't actually a wedding, but the party for the groom's side of the family. It was still a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. 

The following Thursday night consisted of me staying in and sleeping, something my body was telling me that I desperately needed...especially as I was falling asleep on the couch. 

Friday morning I woke up and received a phone call from a friend of my professor's, who she had been trying to put me in touch with for a while. We set up a time to meet and soon I was on my way to Shubra with the other kids in my program who didn't go to Alexandria for the weekend. We were going to visit some of the churches there as well as some other fun things, like the summer palace of Mohamed Ali Pasha. Well, when we got out to Shubra, we did visit the summer palace, but the churches were a no-go. Instead, we took a ferry across the river to a small island to look for a coffee shop. 

On the island, we found a lot of goats, a lack of cars, some odd looks from the locals and a rather sketchy looking "coffee shop". Needless to say, we ventured about halfway onto the island before promptly turning around and catching the next ferry back to the main land. I guess if nothing else, it was adventurous of us to even wander onto the island. 

Once safely back on land, we caught a taxi and headed into Zamalek for lunch before heading back home. Later in the evening, we (Lindley, Shruti, Will, Sean, Claudine and a few Egyptian friends) met up and then a went to rooftop party with Tamer, which was at an artsy type gallery. It was quite fun and I enjoyed it a lot.

Saturday rolled around a lot faster than I expected and I met with my professor's friend, Nigel, downtown. He was extremely nice and after hearing what his business did, I was super excited to hopefully have an internship with him. (Let's face it, I was super excited before I met him. The idea of working in docs [documentaries] or anything film/tv related even in the least makes me excited.) The "interview", I guess it could be called that, went really well and I was offered an internship that began the next morning. 

I returned to my apartment to work on my Customs and Habits paper and then hang out with Emy. We were supposed to go and see Avatar, but sadly the theater was sold out so instead we wandered around Khan Al-Khalili for a while. She taught me some new Arabic phrases, but I found it extremely difficult to learn them. Especially, when walking down the crowded streets of Cairo. I still feel very inadequate when it comes to trying to speaking the language. But, this too shall pass. 

I had to cut our time together short so that I could finish my Customs and Habits paper, and get to bed at a reasonable hour so I could be up for my internship in the morning. 

Alrighty, now for a quick interlude about my internship. I'm extremely excited. I'm working in Public Relations, which is something that has a major appeal to me because it deals with social media and promoting stuff. I'm super excited about having the hands on experience that this internship is allowing me to have and I've only been there a week. I also really enjoy my time in the office, which is always a good thing. Ok...interlude over. 

So, Sunday consisted of internship in the morning, Customs and Habits in the afternoon, then the dance performance, which I already covered in my last post, and of course the Oscars. As I have already discussed these items, I will omit them from this post and move on.

After IR, everyone thought it would be a great idea to gather for a "family dinner" night, which was awesome...at the time anyway. We had burrito night with homemade guacamole and it was just absolutely delicious. I crashed so hard after coming home from this, but the next morning was crappy. I don't know what it was, but something decided that it was not going to agree with me and I was majorly sick. 

I got up not feeling well, went to work feeling better and had a day of ups and downs. I pretty much decided after work that I was headed home to bed and not going to class. I let the proper channels know and headed home and crashed for a good eight hours. Sadly, I missed movie night at AMIDEAST, but I don't think I could have made it through. 

Wednesday was a much better day. I was able to sit through class and not be sick. After classes we had a lecture on Islamic Feminism by Dr. Riham Bahi who is going to be the new academic coordinator at AMIDEAST. It was a really good lecture and I enjoyed hearing about the issue, even though I'm unsure how I feel on the matter. Afterward, Matthew invited us to his apartment to have pizza and watch a documentary called Why Democracy?, and I highly recommend watching it. It takes on one of the issues that I actually advocate for...freedom of speech. And this looks at freedom of speech in Egypt. I don't want to talk about it too much as I don't want to give away what the doc is about. All I'm going to say is google it, I'm sure you'll find it and definitely watch it. 

Thursday came around rather fast this week and I found myself on another tour of Islamic Cairo, this time specifically Khan Al-Khalili. This day proved to be more eventful than ever intended. We visited on of the most famous mosques in the area, the Al-Hakim Mosque, and were even allowed to climb up and walk on the walls, which normally you aren't allowed to do. I got some pretty awesome pictures, but unfortunately, you will all have to wait to see them as they were taken on Sylvia and I left the firewire cable home. Oops. It reminded me a lot of the castles that I saw in Europe. The design was similar and another interesting aspect was the fact that some Pharaonic stones were used in the construction of the mosque. So, you could find stones with hieroglyphs in them randomly on the walls. We visited another mosque, which had a school attached to it, and it reminded me a lot of one we had seen in our previous tour. I think this one was the Aqmar Mosque, but I don't quite remember. 

Anyway, here the part of the story where things get rather odd. After the tour was ending, we started to head back to the bus. Sort of. Something had happened, and I was left out of the loop. It wasn't a problem that I was left out of the loop, but it was a problem that no one had bothered to tell our Arabic teachers, the two who were left to take us back to the bus, where the bus could be found. "فين الأتوبيس؟ ", "Feen el-autobees?" (translation: Where's the bus?) became one of the most common phrases we uttered to one another while trying to figure out what was going on and trying to find the bus. The one good thing that came out of this had to be the sugar cane juice that I got while we tried to figure everything out.

Even now, I'm still unsure of what actually happened, but according to everyone I've talked to everything got sorted out. We did find the bus and headed back home. 

Later that evening a very large group of us headed out to Muqattam Hill to hang out. There were a few wedding parties on the Hill and the city was all lit up. It looked beautiful. I stayed until about 1:30am when my stomach started to act up and I decided that going home was a good thing. 

I promise, I'm almost done summing up everything and then you can all go back to your regularly scheduled lives. On Friday morning, Sean and I myself made the trip out to Heliopolis to go on a tour with Tamer. There were supposed to be others, but we were the only two who came. The morning started with getting some of the best ice cream I ever had! I got creme brulee and Swiss vanilla cake roll ice cream covered in caramel sauce in a waffle cone. Oh man, it was amazing! 

We saw a Coptic Christian church and sat through about fifteen minutes of the church service before deciding that we should move on. We tried to visit another church, but found that it was only a night church and so we had to forgo the visit until a further trip. After this we made a stop at Cilantro, one of the local coffee shops around here, and we had juice and smoothies. Oh how I love the mango juice in this country!

Once we finished relaxing a bit, we traveled to Baron Palace which was a palace built by the guy who originally built Heliopolis for him to live in. It looks kind of out of place within the rest of Heliopolis, but is very pretty to look at as it consists of European style architecture with Indian decoration. I would have loved to have gone inside, but sadly the guards would not let us. They said it was subject to renovation at the moment. 

With this as pretty much the last stop on the tour, we hopped in a taxi and Tamer, Sean and I headed over to City Stars, the giant mall in Heliopolis. Sean was looking for some pants, which sadly we could not find any that he liked. While, I did find the set of earrings that I was looking for as well as a new camera, which I have so lovingly named Benjamin VII. It's nothing against Sylvia, but it is rather hard to take still photos with her and with Camille waiting on repair, Benjamin VII was rather necessary. So, soon I will be able to post more pictures! Yay! 

We had a lovely time shopping around the mall, and then we returned home before once again heading out. Some friends of Tamer's were having a party on the house boat that they lived on and he invited us along. It was a good time. I dance and met a lot of new interesting people. 

And that pretty much brings us to today. Saturday. The last day of my weekend here in Cairo. And I definitely made the most of it as a weekend, seeing as how I slept until noon today. When I finally did wake up, I got myself ready for another day of Egyptian cooking lessons. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the food we make, but it's always so chaotic to make. I don't even remember what we actually made today, but I do know that it was delicious and as soon as I get Benjamin connected to the computer, I will post those pictures. Overall, today was a good day. 

...Wow. That's it. As of this moment, everything in my life is pretty much caught up. I apologize for the length of this post and the lack of pictures, but things have been out of sorts this week as you can tell. I'm going to try and update more frequently...but, I'm pretty sure I've said this before and I have yet to follow up on that. Well, I'm going to try and do it this time. 

Also, this week coming up should be rather interesting. I don't have a whole lot of stuff going on, but I am heading to Faiyum this weekend as an excursion with my program and for the cultural festival. It should be loads of fun. Stay tuned, who knows what adventures this week will hold. After all, this is Egypt!

No comments:

Post a Comment