17 April, 2010

The Last Two Days

I love coming back from the gym. I always feel so wonderful. The only problem is that when I come back, I always sit and get to work and/or watch the televison...which is what I'm doing now. Working on papers and watching The Time Machine. I guess there are worse things I could be doing though. I am at least being productive. 

This last week was one of excitement and adventure. The beginning of the week was rather the same as all of the others. I went to work, I went to class, I worked on homework, etc., etc., etc. However, Thursday began a day of adventure. AMIDEAST had planned for us to visit an Egyptian Village, which of course I thought meant the Pharaohnic Village here in Egypt. I was very wrong. What they actually meant was a trip to an actual Egyptian village. 

It was a lot of fun. We arrived around 1:30pm after we had our meeting with Dr. Riham about how our classes have progressed. The village itself was a little intimidating at first as it looked nothing like Cairo, but nothing like I imagined. I pictured something similar to an American farm. With fields of corn and wheat lining the road and little farm houses tucked away. But, that's not what this village was like at all. 
Unfinished brick buildings stand amongst farmland.
 Our group and children of the village look at the chickens in the pen.
Unfinished brick buildings clumped together to form small dirt roads and all of these buildings were congregated in the center of the village. On one side was a river where many people were washing clothes and dishes. We wandered up one of the side streets, following the lead of our Arabic professors and arrived at a brightly painted house. Inside were a group of women sitting around a small fire style oven making fateer, a tradition dish that is eaten with molasses (or honey and sugar) and some spicy cheese. It can also be eaten with savory foods like meat and vegetables inside. 
 The Egyptian women making the fateer. Photo thanks to Shruti as I had my hands dirty.
Well, we all gathered around to watch and somehow or another, I really can't say how, I ended up washing my hands and helping to make the fateer. It was a lot of fun to make. It has an interesting texture and putting your hands in soft butter is also rather interesting. 

After we had made the fateer, we took a quick look outside before being brought upstairs to the main part of the house. It was an interesting look into the home life of the average Egyptian. I'm pretty sure that living in this apartment were the Arabic teacher who hosted us, his wife and three kids, plus his brother, his brother's wife and their children AND his mother and father. I don't know how they do it. I can not fathom living with my sister and parents for that long. Let alone raise children with them and live in a house that tiny. But, that's the difference between Egyptian culture and American culture. 

We played with the children for a bit and then it was time for lunch. We ate lunch at a table that was low to the floor and we ate with our hands. (See right for picture of cooked fateer and lunch set-up.) It was quite an experience if I do say so myself. Another cultural thing that we found was that Egyptians like to feed you, it doesn't matter how full you are, they want you to keep eating. 

Once lunch was finished, we had some strawberry juice and then went for a walking tour of the town. We wandered through the fields and eventually ended up in a strawberry patch where we were given freshly picked strawberries to eat. They were the best strawberries I have ever had! Oh my goodness! I really wish I hadn't been so full from lunch because I would have had more of them. 

After our strawberry adventure, we hopped back on the bus and headed home. It was an exhausting day. I've learned that Egypt is just one of those places where you can do practically nothing and still be exhausted from it. When I got back to the apartment, I filled out some more internship applications and then pretty much crashed for the night. 
Everyone wandering out of the strawberry fields.
Friday morning came about a reasonable hour for once. I got up and hit the gym because that always means the start to a good day and then I went out in search of a red shirt for the football game. Sadly, I did not find a red shirt, but I did buy my 'evil eye' pendant that I've been meaning to buy since my birthday. So, instead of a red shirt, I wore my black shirt with a red scarf that I bought for a friend (sorry, needed something red). I looked pretty decked out. We all did. 

We all met for dinner at Redwan around 4pm, where I had some delicious Egyptian style spaghetti. We then hit the bus where we were greeted by some very enthusiastic Egyptians who work with AMIDEAST. They brought with them a drum, which they beat the entire way to the stadium (see left). They also led us in cheers the entire way. It was quite an experience. 

 We got through the first round of gates rather quickly, but getting to our seats was another story. First, a gentleman in the area saw us and we all had our faces painted. It then took us nearly an hour to get into one of the gates where we did eventually ended up sitting. I'm unsure as to the exact circumstances as to why it took so long, but the reason we ended up being able to stay there was because we were foreigners and it we were the only foreigners at the game.
 Haley gets her face painted by a guy at the gate.
The game itself was only ok. It ended up a tie. But, what was really exciting was the energy of the crowd at the game. I couldn't believe it. It was absolutely wonderful. The stadium was packed with half wearing red (like me) to support Ahly and half wearing white for Zamalek. I've never experienced energy like that. Not even at home. I can't even begin to describe it. 
The entire Ahly side of the stadium was on its feet throughout most of the game!
 Garrett, Rebecca and Haley at the game and all decked out!
Me all decked out in my gear for the game!
Sadly, we left the game about five minutes early to beat the traffic, which was a good thing as we made it home in about twenty minutes, which is probably the fastest I've ever gotten back from Heliopolis. 

I did go out with Haley, Moose, Rebecca, Lindley, Lindley's mom and Haley's parents for dinner at the King Hotel where I had some delicious ravioli. I then wandered back to the apartment where I passed out from exhaustion. 

And that brings us to today. Well...I haven't exactly done much. I went to the gym, watched The Time Machine started reading an article for one of my papers, filled out my applications for Rudes, ordered dinner, labeled some photos in my portfolio and have been working on finishing episode one of a mini-series with the Awkward Trio. 

It's been a boring day, but this upcoming week is going to be exciting as tomorrow around noon my mom, gram and neighbor land at Cairo International Airport. This means that this next week will be filled with excitement as I show them around my home in Egypt. So, keep an out for all of my post during the week. There are sure to be a lot. 

And on that note. I'm going to go back to trying to do homework. 

!سلام (salam. Translation: Peace!)

1 comment:

  1. Going to an Egyptian village, eating fitir and going to an Ahly and Zamalk game! Wow, You are certainly having the Egyptian experience and seeing the real Egypt. Good luck taking your family sight seeing, I hope they have a memorable time here too.