06 May, 2010

From Luxor to Aswan: We're Definitely Not in Cairo Anymore

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I needed to borrow my flatmates camera so I could upload the pictures, as Egypt seems to have claimed another one. Luckily I have a warranty on this one and its only good in Egypt, so I'll be taking care of that tomorrow. Also, I've just been really busy this week since we got back. But, things will start slowing down soon. Anyway, enjoy!

This blog is going to sound extremely different from the other ones I write about my trips. There really isn’t any other reason beyond, I brought Kitt, my laptop, with me on this journey because of all the school work that I need to get finished, which means I’ll have written everyday about what we did. This is a combination of good and bad. Good as I will not be struggling for the words of my story, but bad as I’m sure it will much longer than any of the previous trips. Oh well. !مش مشكلة, Mish mushkeela! (Translation: No problem.) On that note, let’s get this adventure started.

Day One: Wednesday, April 28- To Luxor We Will Go!
The semester is coming to a close, I have several giant papers and presentations to work on and where am I, on a Nile cruise in Luxor. Not that I’m complaining of course. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while. The temples, the statues and most importantly...wait for it...wait for it...The Valley of the Kings! What I was not so thrilled with about this trip was the time of departure. 3:30am. What? That’s about the time I’ve been going to bed lately, what do you mean I have to leave at that time?

Needless to say, I didn’t get any sleep before I had to leave for the airport. I had planned on sleeping from about 11:00pm to 2:30am, but as per usual my plans never work out. I ended up having an argument with AU’s Financial Aid Office, which led to me calling my mother, which mean that I didn’t get to sleep until way later than intended...1:30am...I don’t even think I got the whole hour of sleep. But, that didn’t stop me from gathering all of my things and heading off Cairo International Airport to depart for Luxor.

Flying domestically was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had. We got to the gate, and I put my luggage through the x-ray machine and they didn’t even stop my bag for the amount of liquids I was carrying in it. They didn’t even ask for my passport! But, the guard who put my bag through did ask for money. I was way to tired to be functional and dealing with them, so instead I just grabbed my bag and proceeded through to ticketing.

After we got our tickets, we proceeded to the gate, but not before stopping for a bit of breakfast at 4am. I had a very delicious chocolate croissant and a white hot chocolate, which was actually a little disappointing. Oh well.

On the way to the gate, we had one more security checkpoint to pass through and just from this experience I’ve determined that Egyptian security is nothing like American security. I didn’t remove my liquids from my bag, I didn’t have to remove my shoes and belt, I didn’t have to pull out Kitt, they once again didn’t check my passport and they arbitrarily stopped some of us carrying bottles of water...but even this was at random as they let some of us wander through carrying cups of coffee. Whatever, I enjoyed not having to deal with the hassle.

The flight itself was very short. We literally got on the plane, they took off and we were up in the air for maybe 40 minutes. Enough time for the cabin staff to run around and quickly hand out juice boxes and for me to sort of fall into a light sleep, only to be woken up by Korean tourists running toward the front of the plane to get off.

We waited for the tourists to exit and then got off ourselves. I’ve never gotten off an airplane in the middle of the runway and been shuttle back to the main airport. It was really an interesting experience for me. But, then again flying in general for me is still a new concept as I started flying places about 3 years ago when I visited Jackie in Boston...but that’s an entirely different story.
Sadly, I did not take any pictures of this as I was still very tired from not sleeping. Hopefully, I can take some pictures of the scene before we leave to head back to Cairo.

Once safely in the airport, we waited for our bus to come and pick us up to take us to Karnak Temple.

Now, as for Karnak Temple, it was beautiful! Everything I had hoped to see. Dr. Magda gave us a bit of the background and took Will and myself off on our own to discuss some of the important scenes carved on the temple walls.
The first pylon of Karnak Temple. A line of Sphinxes on each side lead up to the entrance.
My favorite area had to be the Odalisque of Hatshepsut. There is only one remaining upright, but there is an interesting story behind the odalisque itself. When Tuthmosis III finally came to power, he did not like Hatshepsut, the Queen who had ruled as King before him and also his mother, so to show his dislike of her, he encased the bases of her odalisque in a building, and only left the top showing as reverence to the god Amun. But, to quote William, “What a dick move.” I laughed a bit when I heard this story, it just seems so typical of these Ancient Egyptians.
 The fallen odalisque of Hatshepsut.
We probably could have stayed for hours in Karnak, but the crowds of tourists and heat became rather unbearable. Thus, we retreated back to the bus and a small cafe called, “Snack Time” for some food and air conditioning.

The food, at least for William and myself, came after seeing Luxor Temple. Now, Luxor Temple was at one point connected to Karnak Temple through the avenue of Sphinxes, which are currently undergoing excavation in hope of reconnecting the two temples. Luxor Temple was much different than Karnak is a lot of ways. For one thing, it was located in the city, so traffic ran around it on both sides. The other thing that separates Luxor Temple from Karnak is the very distinctive Christian inscriptions. It becomes very obvious that once the Christians came to power in the area, they decided that the Egyptian gods and goddesses were Pagan and plastered over them in the temples. The temples themselves were just converted to churches and more recently, a mosque has been built inside of it. In a way, its kind of sad. All of the old history, while still there, is being destroyed because of different beliefs.
 The first pylon to Luxor Temple. 
The line of Sphinxes leading up to Luxor Temple.
After Luxor Temple, Will, Dr. Magda and myself met the others at “Snack Time”, where I got a delicious vanilla milkshake and more mediocre Chicken Cesar Salad. We then headed off to check into the boat that we will be spending our next four days living on.
The restaurant of relaxation. Milkshake was delicious. The salad had something to be desired.
The boat itself, the MS Commodore, is rather nice. It is considered to be a 5 star hotel on the water...this if of course Egyptian 5 stars, which differs considerably from American 5 stars...more like American 3 stars or so. Anyway, we checked in and once again I am rooming with my travel companion Shruti. Once I got into my room, I layed down (finally!) and took a well needed two hour nap. It was wonderful.

I woke up just in time for lunch, which was decent. Buffet style with the usual sorts of Egyptian foods you might expect, rice, carrots, broccoli, meat. After lunch, I played Tarneeb with Will, Sean and Matthew (our program director). This is the same game I played in Siwa, but I apparently was taught the Syrian version (which I’m pretty good at), this was the Egyptian version and has slightly different betting rules and more of a team feel...which means, I wasn’t as good at it the first time around. Oh well. I’m learning. After Tarneeb, we played a game of Rummy(the game I keep forgetting how to play)...and still I lost. Cards were just not my thing today.
 Sean and Will playing ping pong. An event that was very common throughout this trip.
We killed about 3 hours or so playing card, but that still meant two hours until dinner. So, I thought I’d be productive and get to work on some research. As expected though, this did not happen. Instead I began writing this blog post and then transitioned into talking to Sean and Yasmina in Arabic for about 2 hours. I guess it was a well spent 2 hours as I didn’t speak English at all and confused a gentleman looking for a lighter as to what language I spoke. Compliment? I think so.

Dinner itself was only ok. Fried chicken with lemon, some potatoes and veggies. I think it could have been a bit better honestly. For desert, to celebrate Sean’s birthday, we had birthday cake and of course, the regular desert. Also, to celebrate Sean’s birthday they brought him in front of everyone and made us all sing. It was rather funny.

After dinner, I sat around with everyone outside enjoying the night air and company of those in my program. It’s nice to feel that I’m apart of the program especially because I often feel that I’m not on the same playing field as everyone else. We talked and chatted until about 11pm, when we all decided that sleep was probably a good thing as we had an early morning. I got back to the room, read about two pages of my book and promptly passed out. I was exhausted.

Day Two: Thursday, April 29- Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut

The morning was a bit chaotic to start with. I think that’s an adequate way to describe it. The wake-up call came at 6am, but no one specified to us when our actual tour was supposed to be and that’s where the confusion started.

I got up when the wake-up call came in, took my shower and then went to breakfast, where I was alone until about 6:50am. Enter Matthew and the instructions that we are to be at the tour in 10 minutes...followed by the comment, “Not going to happen.”

We eventually got on the road by about 7:30-7:45am. Oops. But, this didn’t really matter in the long run. Our first stop was the Valley of the Kings, a sight Will and I have learned a lot about. Sadly, you cannot take any pictures inside and our tour guide said that they government would fine you 50 Egyptian pounds for one photograph and 3000 Egyptian pounds if it was taken on a camera phone. With rates like that, for a moment I did consider it, but ultimately decided against it as my money is becoming more limited the closer I get to the end of the semester.

The Valley itself was incredible, though our tour guide didn’t know exactly what he was talking about and Will and I knew it. How did we know? Well, he asked a question and when Will answered it, he told Will that he was wrong and kept going. Will got rather mad at this and Dr. Magda told us that he was right and our tour guide was wrong. We heard a bit about the history of the Valley before heading off on our own to take a look at some of the tombs.

Our first tomb was Tuthmosis III, the Napoleon of Ancient Egypt. His tomb was a heck of a climb, but compared to when I climbed the Red Pyramid, this was cake. We reached the top and then descended into his tomb which was about 150 meters underground. Needless to say it was very hot! The tomb itself seemed unfinished to Will and myself as most of it was not fully painted and some areas had been gridded for writing but not filled in. Nonetheless, it was pretty awesome to be inside. Another cool thing about being inside this tomb was that Dr. Magda was able to talk to us a little bit about the scenes depicted on the wall. I guess because not that many people venture up the hill and stairs to see the tomb. On the walls of this tomb is the 12 hour night that the dead must take to get into the underworld. Each hour, which are not in order, portray a task, or obstacle that occurs throughout the journey and how it is overcome.

The next two tombs that we visited were Ramses III and Ramses IX. They weren’t as impressive as I thought they would be, especially since Ramses III was pretty important. He did after all protect Egypt from being invaded by the Sea Peoples. We also weren’t really allowed to talk about what was in the tomb, so that kind of sucked. Dr. Magda tried talking to us in one of the tombs, and one of the guards yelled at her, to which she responded, “I am a doctor and their professor.” and promptly continued walking into the tomb.

When we finished with the Valley of the Kings, we returned to the bus and avoided being taken to an alabaster factory simply for the fact that no one wanted to go. It kind of made me happy as I didn’t have to worry about feeling forced to buy things that I didn’t want/need. Our next stop was the Temple of Deir-el Behari (Hatshepsut’s temple). Hatshepsut is a very interesting figure as she was a Queen who became King. Had she been a man, she would have been King as she was of royal birth. However, because she as female, she was not. Instead she was married to her half brother, Tuthmosis II, and made the royal wife. She failed to produce any children however, and the only son of Tuthmosis II was from one of the secondary wives, so when Tuthmosis II died, Hatshepsut became the regent of the young king, Tuthmosis III. Eventually, during her time as regent, she decided that she did not want to just be the child’s regent and thus creates the story of divine birth for herself, which claims she is a child of the gods and thus can rule over Egypt as king, which she then does. She rules over Egypt as King, dresses in the ceremonial male garb, and is even referred to as “he” instead of “she”. She really is a fascinating person in Ancient Egyptian history.
 Deir al-Bahri. The tomb and temple of Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh of Egypt.
After we left Deir-el Behari, we made one last stop at Collosi of Memnon. Here we only stopped briefly to look and take pictures with the giant statues.
The statues. Not the best picture, but it shows both of them.
We returned to the boat with about an hour and a half to kill before lunch, where I proceeded to write the first half of this entry and then play Rummy with Will and Sean. I lost rather badly, but you know, I enjoy playing cards with them.

We then had lunch which consisted of some delicious fish, chicken, rice and fried squash vegetable. The desert was also rather enjoyable...and I had jello, which is something I normally don’t eat, but it was rather delicious.

After lunch we had a little bit of free time, where I managed to work on some research for my presentation on Monday, had tea time at about 2:30pm and then at 5 o’clock we had Arabic class on the boat. It was a pretty interesting class. We learned a lot of new words relating to Luxor and the sights we had seen.

After class I went out to the deck area where I played ping pong for a little bit before the cocktail party. I also got to see the ship pass through the loch. To do this, the brought the ship to a complete stop, flooded the area and then allowed the ship to float out into more open water. It was pretty cool! Even though I’m pretty sure that this technology dates back to the 1800s. It was still really cool to see.

The cocktail party itself was pretty cool. It introduced the heads of staff on the boat to us and then we had free cocktails. I felt a little bit underdressed as several people actually wore fancy clothing to the cocktail hour. After this I played some more cards before heading down to dinner.

Dinner itself was rather fancy, which once again made me feel underdressed...oh well...Dinner itself was pretty good. I rather enjoyed the meal. We had chicken and vegetables and some delicious crepes with brandy for desert. I absolutely loved desert!

After dinner, it was BINGO night! We danced on the dance floor for a while prior to the game, which was probably pretty good entertainment for everyone else on the boat. Then, Lindley, Matthew, Garrett, Rebecca and myself played Bingo in a more Egyptian style than I was used to. The object was at first to get one complete line, then two complete lines and then the entire card. I was one away from winning for the entire card, but sadly the number 55 was not called and thus I did not win. After Bingo, we played one more game, which was called “the biggest loser”. The way you played was pretty simple. If they called a number and you had it on any card, you threw that card away. Once all of your cards were gone, you had to sit down. The winner got a bottle of beer. But, none of us won sadly.

Once Bingo was finished, I returned to the room where I proceeded to set my clock forward one hour for daylight savings time. Apparently they have that in Egypt. I thought it was just a North American thing, but obviously it is not. I did manage to read some more of The Yacoubian Building, which I am almost finished, before passing out. It was a very long day.

Day Three: Friday, April 30-The Temple of Edfu and Kom Ombo Temple

Another day of adventure! I have been on this boat for the last three days and honestly, I think I could stay for another month. It has been a lot of fun!

Today started as the other mornings have. A wake-up call at 7am, breakfast around 7:30am, followed by a tour at 8am. Our first stop this morning was the Temple of Edfu. This temple is one of the only temples left almost entirely intact and it is because it was buried by the sand and then rediscovered later. It is dedicated to the goddess Hathor and the god Horus and their marriage to one another. There is also another smaller temple where the sun god, Ra, is said to have been born. Wandering around through there was pretty awesome. I’ve never seen such an intact temple before. The reliefs were gorgeous and some of the colors were still in tact. The only real problem with the temple was that because it was built during the Ptolemaic period (Greek Period), the hieroglyphs differ, thus Will and I were unable to read them. We also two slight mishaps with the tour guide at the temple. One had to do with when Will and I went to watch the short movie at the visitors center. Apparently the film had already started and when Will and I tried to enter, our tour guide wouldn’t let us in and then locked the door until after the movie was over. This pushed Will’s buttons and mine a bit, but not as much. Not like the movie was that important, but it was the point of the matter. The other mishap came from within the temple. While he was explaining one of the wall scenes, he said that the man wearing the leopard skin was the high priest, which is technically correct. However, the man was also wearing the blue crown of the king, which means he was the king acting as the high priest. But, when we tried to explain this to him, he sort of ignored us and told us we were wrong. Strike two against the accuracy of our tour guide.
The Temple of Edfu from behind an enclosure wall. Off to the left is a temple dedicated to Hathor.
On our way out of the temple, we had to pass through a market (as you do in just about every sight in Luxor and Aswan). I managed though to buy a galabiya for galabiya night on the boat. It’s a light blue color with silver circles all over it. It looks rather tacky, but is wonderful at the same time.

We soon re-boarded the buses and headed back to the ship. Once back on board, I worked on some more of my IR research before being distracted by some wonderful folks from the UK who wanted to know how a bunch of college students came to be on the boat. We chatted clear up until they rang the lunch bell. Lunch was once again a pretty decent buffet style of food which I enjoyed with the company of people.
After lunch I decided to relax a little bit and so I put on my bathing suit and grabbed The Yacoubian Building and sat by the pool reading. It got a bit on the hot side at one point, so I proceeded to jump in the pool, which was quite refreshing. It was so hot out though that it literally took my hair and suit maybe 5 minutes to dry once I emerged from splashing around. I read a little bit more and then went with Sean, Shruti and Matthew to play a game of tarneeb. We played up until we were pretty much into port. I then got changed, came back up to the sundeck where I played another round of tarneed with Ryan, Shruti and Sean. Ryan and myself lost, which sucked. I have concluded that I am a rather horrible partner for this game...that or I need more practice.

We departed the boat and made our way to Kom Ombo Temple (Kom Ombo meaning pile of gold). It was a rather awesome as this temple contains one of the first calendars of the Pharonic years. There is also a list of medical tools. Kom Ombo is also interesting because there are two smaller temples dedicated to Horus and Sobek, who were enemies during this period, which normally wouldn’t have happened because you wouldn’t have acknowledged the evil god, only the good one. Another cool aspect was the Nileometer, which looked like a giant well. The way it worked was that the Nile waters would rise to a certain point and then the high priest would determine the tax based on the height of the water. The higher the water, the more tax collected because it would be a good year for agriculture and other trades.
 The Nileometer. You can see the water at the bottom of it.
A hieroglyph meaning praise. Yay! I can read!
 The Temple of Kom Ombo. On the right is the temple for Sobek and the left is the temple for Horus.
The cartouche of Cleopatra VII, the famous Cleopatra, found on one of the columns in Kom Ombo Temple.
After we finished at the temple, we boarded the boat again and got ready for Galibiya night. We went to dinner dressed up and had Egyptian food...which consisted of things I buy rather cheaply on the street everyday as opposed to good Egyptian food. It was rather sad that the food was only mediocre, but I ate it anyway. Soon after dinner we went up to the sundeck for the party and for a quick round of ping pong in my galibya with Sean. I soon gave up after it became increasingly difficult to move in my galibiya to play ping pong and I went inside and ordered myself a drink. Once the party actually started it became a lot of fun. We, as in our group, dominated the games played. First was the number of friends game. You danced around and when they stopped the music and called a number, you had to gather that many people. Rebecca won this game and she won a free cocktail. Sean was entered into the next game, which was pretty embarrassing for him, so I won’t describe it. He won and was declared King of the cruise, which meant he won a beer. It was followed by a search for the Queens, where Ann and myself did some traditional Egyptian dancing. We won...along with the other ladies and got some free cocktails. The last game of the night was the bottle passing game, which was like hot potato. I was in the game pretty long, but eventually lost. But, it was ok as Rebecca and Lindley won. Their prizes were two bottles of water...not as exciting as the other prizes.
Will, Sean and Yasmina during Galibiya nigt. Sean is intentionally wearing a woman's galibiya.
Rebecca, Shruti and Matthew on Galibiya night. Everyone looked wonderful!
After the games, the floor was open for some dancing, which was a lot of fun. I danced the macarena, which I haven’t heard since 5th grade and then the YMCA. I decided to turn in around 11:30pm. I returned to the cabin, did some blogging and talked with Shruti before crashing. It was a good night.

Day Four: Saturday, May 1- Aswan at Last

The morning came much quicker than I intended. The wake-up call was at 7:30am, which was later than most days, but I had been up since 7am showering and packing up my stuff in the room. I wandered to breakfast around 8am and pretty had the same things we’d had all of the other days.

I left breakfast and returned to my room where I finished packing my things and then proceeded out to the lobby to meet our tour guide for the last tours of the trip.

We loaded the bus and drove up to the see the Aswan High Dam. It was amazing, but to as Garrett pointed out, it was very unnatural and it was definitely messing with nature. But, there was still a thrill in looking at the dam and a sense of awe that came over me.
The Aswan High Dam. It's really, really impressive.
We were at the dam for a while and it was pretty hot. I have to say, summer has definitely hit Egypt. Anyway, point of this is that while we were at the dam, one of the kids in my program, Ryan, fainted due to the heat and not having enough water. He came to pretty quick, but we didn’t let him go to see any of the other sites as he needed to rest. It was kind of terrifying.

The rest of us continued on our journey, however. Our next stop was the Temple of Philae which was a temple made to worship the goddess Isis. It’s another Greek Temple to the goddess, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. It no longer stands in its original place though as when the Egyptians built the High Dam, they flooded the original area of the temple. UNESCO paid for the resurrection and movement of the temple to a small island. This meant that when we went to visit, to get there we had to board a small motor boat, which was a lot of fun. It reminded me of the summer and how I’m really looking forward to living on water that I’m not terrified to go in. Anyway, we did the usual tour thing with the tour guide and then Will and I wandered off with Dr. Magda to discuss some of the interesting features of the temple walls. Will and I also looked for the name of an explorer, George Stevens. He is really of no significance except that Will read his travels through Egypt and he pretty much went everywhere that we went in Egypt.
The Temple of Philae as we approached it by water. 
Historical graffiti. It's considered historical if its over 200 years old or something like that.
We left the Temple of Philae and headed back to the ship to finish packing as this was the end of our guided tours and our last day on the boat. We were able to leave our things in our room, which was wonderful of the crew on the ship and travel through Aswan on our own.

Our first stop was lunch at a little cafe called Emy’s. It was recommended in Lonely Planet and thus we thought it would be good, but sadly it was not as good as we thought. I got some spaghetti bolognese, which was a bit over cooked as was everyone’s food and it took forever for it all to come out. Sad.

After lunch, we tried to find the public ferry across the river, but failed and ended up taking a private boat to Kitchner’s Island to the see the Botanical Gardens. They were gorgeous. I’ve never seen that much green in all of Egypt! It was nice and cool too, which was a welcome change from the heat we were experiencing in Aswan and Luxor.

We spent a little over three hours there just wandering and relaxing. We even went on a “can you name this tree by what the leaves smell like?” game. It was a good deal of fun and yes, the leaves of a certain type of tree do smell like the fruit they produce.
The Botanical Gardens on Kitchner's Island. So pretty!
The next stop on our adventure was to Elephantine Island where our group split into two. Will, Dr. Magda and myself went to the Elephantine Museum,where the curator insisted upon giving us a tour as he had graduated from the same faculty as Dr. Magda. The problem with this was mainly due to the fact that he spoke very little English and thus the whole tour was in Arabic. I understood some things, but Dr. Magda had to translate a lot as well. I was proud of what I could understand though. I guess I am learning something this semester after all. The other cool thing about the tour is you had to cross over an actual archaeological site to get into the extended part of the museum. This was pretty awesome as you often forget that the temples you are looking at are restored and not the way they were originally found.
The Elephantine Island Museum. 
The excavation site at the Elephantine Island Museum. 
We thanked the nice man and moved on to see the rest of the Nubian village which is where the others had gone. We didn’t go to far in as most of them were at an area relatively close to the museum, which was once the house of a British archaeologist in case I didn’t mention it before. While we waited for some of the others to return, I looked around the shop ,which had some nice things. But they were a bit pricey so I didn’t buy anything. Once everyone was back together, most of the girls decided to get henna tattoos. I did get one done, so my was decorated. It didn’t take me long to realize though why I don’t get henna done or paint my fingernails. The colors and patterns on my hands distract me too much.
 The Nubian Village on Elephantine Island.
 The henna tattoo I got done on my hand/arm.
After henna, we left Elephantine Island and ferried to another island for some Nubian food. I had some tomato soup, which isn’t very Nubian, along with some chicken Tagen, which was delicious, rice and stewed vegetables. They were absolutely delicious.

We ate rather quickly so that we could get back to the ship in enough time to catch our plane. We finished up in pretty good time, paid the bill and then ferried back to our boat, which was fun as we didn’t quite remember which ship was ours. Oops. We eventually figured it out though.

Once back on the ship, I made sure that I had everything that I had brought with me as well as everything I had bought packed away. I then headed out to the lobby with The Yacoubian Building in hand determined to finish the last ten pages. Sadly, I was distracted by people talking to me and only managed to read approximately 5 of them.

At 9:15pm, we hopped on our bus which took us to Aswan International Airport. I have to say, I have never seen an international airport as small as Luxor and Aswan’s airports. I guess I’m just used to giant ones. Anyway, we checked in and I once again managed to get through security without showing one piece of identification. We sat down in the Sabarro’s cafe in the airport and I bought a Twix bar and a soda to end the trip on a wonderful note.

We boarded the plane at around 11:00pm. It was a very tiny plane, which I once again forgot to take pictures of as we were shuttling to it via bus. I was just really sleepy at this point. We boarded the ‘express’ plane, which was really tiny and were soon off to Cairo. The flight was a little bit longer than the flight to Luxor as we were more South. And while we were on the plane, the actually served us juice in a cup, not a juice box. I also took a small nap on the plane ride back. Arrival back to Cairo International Airport was at 12:35am and I was dead exhausted.

We bused back to Cinema Tahrir and walked back to the apartment where I proceeded to crash and sleep almost immediately. This was of course after checking my e-mail to find 168 unread e-mails. Obviously, I’m popular.

Overall, I think this trip was one of the best. It was fun and educational. Plus, I got to dress up in a funny galibiya and lay by the pool. So worth it. I just wish it didn’t fall around the time of all my projects and papers being due. But, oh well. What are you going to do?

I once again apologize for the length of this post. A lot happened and I wanted to get it all in! I promise my posts won’t be this long in the future. Keep watching for another update coming soon! Yay!

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