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Trip to Dahab/Climbed up Mount Sinai

September 30th, 2009 4 comments

Dahab, Sinai, Egypt Trip

We left at midnight on a private bus to Dahab in Sinai, Egypt. It was an 8-9 hour drive and the bus driver apparently was driving pretty dangerously. I knocked out on the bus so I didn’t see any of his driving. We stopped once for a break. My friend and I ended up in some sketchy bathroom stalls (obviously with no toilet paper). The little girls in the bathroom kept looking at us and smiling because they knew we weren’t used to this. We went back to find some tissue in the bus and used that.

We got to our hostel around 9am. We dropped off our bags and went to a restaurant called Same Same, But Different for some breakfast, which was right on the beach. We ended up having that for breakfast for the next couple of days. We’re still not sure what the name of the restaurant means, but it’s certainly unique. The workers at the restaurant let us play whatever type of music we wanted. We went from Whitney Houston (who they thought was called Gloria and made me seem crazy) and Coldplay to Eminem.

After breakfast, we changed and hit the Red Sea. The guy at the hostel allowed us to board the back of his jeep where he had handmade some vertical benches for us to sit. We ended up jeeping to the beach and back the next day as well. The Red Sea was gorgeous with clear and bright blue water. On the other side we could see fish close to us. Some young Beduin girls came up to us and sold us some hand-made bracelets. Their parents then offered me some Beduin tea and food right on the beach.

After getting some sun, we went to the strip and lounge-hopped. We were the center of attention in all these places, which was awkward sometimes. But, I don’t think any of us cared. We went back to our rooms only to wake up early again for breakfast.

We had breakfast at Same Same, But Different again. We figured we’d go to the Red Sea again since the beach was relaxing. We jeeped there once again. After some hours there, we called a guy to do some ATVing. Right around sunset we took our ATV’s out through some mountains in the middle of a desert right near the Red Sea. We saw some beautiful scenery. On the way back my ATV wouldn’t start up again. The guy who was leading us came around to try to start up my ATV. After awhile it started, and then kept apologizing. He told me that I would have to ride behind him and said I can’t go that fast. So he made me ride behind him until I figured it was riding fine. That’s when I told him I think it was okay for me to ride again. We got back with sand all over ourselves, but no time to shower. We grabbed dinner at an awesome local restaurant. Then, we had an hour before we were supposed to meet the guy taking us to Mount Sinai by bus. We were going to climb Mount Sinai the very same night.

I tried to take a nap for that hour until I got some phone calls from the states. One was from my mom who was wondering why I hadn’t called her in some days. I kind of forgot to mention to her that I was going to the Sinai Peninsula, so decided to leave the whole climbing Mount Sinai out of the conversation. Then I wondered if I was getting these phone calls right before this journey for some crazy reason or just a coincidence. What was going to happen to me on this mountain? Yes, I tend to get superstitious at times. I couldn’t nap anymore. My friends started singing outside our doors. So I thought I would just get ready for this nightlong climb to the mountains. The manager at the hostel told us that there was something all his guests said to him when they got back from Mount Sinai, but couldn’t tell us until we got back.

I packed my backpack and we left for the bus at 11pm. It was a two and half hour drive to the site. The drive there was crazier than the drive to Dahab. This bus driver kept making random stops and picking up random people. We thought this mountain climb trip was organized specifically by the hostel we were staying at. Guess not. Once we arrived to the site, we saw a couple of hundred of people waiting to get their bags checked for the climb. I felt less nervous we were doing it in such a large group.

Our tour guide’s name was Muhammad (not unusual). And our team name was Ramses (not unique either). It took us about 3 hours to climb 7,500 feet with just about 5 rest stops (for about 5-7 minutes each) along the way. Right before we got to the top, we had to climb about 700 steps. And these steps weren’t all the same size. Some were unusually huge rock pieces that the monks supposedly built for their daily climbs. That was the most tiring of all. The stars that you could see from where we were were gorgeous. We could see Little Dipper and the North Star pretty clearly. Down below we could see narrow lines of just torchlights following us. Almost everyone had some type of flashlight with them. I wanted to take a picture, but was too tired to take my camera out besides for my water. As we got closer to the top, it was getting cooler. I was going from getting really cold to really hot (from all that climbing).

We got to the top just in time for the sunrise. It was beautiful. The sun was slowly peeking out. We conquered Mount Sinai, now how were we going to get down. We were hungry and exhausted, but we had to get down before it got too hot. It’s interesting the temperature contrasts out on the mountains within a couple off hours. It took less time to get down (about 2 hours). One of our group members got injured. His knee gave out and had to limp all the way down, which sucked. It was a hard climb alright. We got back on the bus around 10am and reached back to our hostel some hours later. We grabbed breakfast at the Same Same, But Different restaurant yet again. After breakfast, we crashed. The manager at the hostel told us that all his guests tell him that the whole Mount Sinai experience was very interesting, but they’d never do it again. I can relate!

We took a 4 hour nap at our hostels before I woke up really hungry. It was 5:30pm before I woke my roommates up and wanted to go to the restaurant we went the night before. We all went back to that restaurant and had delish food. After dinner, we went back to Same Same, But Different for some drinks. We continued our rest back at our rooms for some karaoke. We had the guys sing some Backstreet Boys while the guys made us sing some Eminem. We all sucked! But it was fun. We then got a phone call from a friend from another group also in Dahab inviting us to a beach party at the Hilton. We jeeped there as well. The beach party wasn’t too great. The DJ refused to play anything else but house music. We even pointed out to him that no one was really dancing and all he did was waved his hands in the air and said with an awkward European accent, “Ha ha, I know,” and kept dancing. We called the jeep guy and told him to pick us up.

We finally crashed into bed and ended our trip in Dahab with one final breakfast at Same Same, But Different. Oh, how we’ll miss that place.

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Ohh Alexandria..a way to remember it the 2nd time around

September 23rd, 2009 4 comments

So I had 3 hours of sleep before I had to wake up at 6am to get ready. We met at 7am to take a cab to the train station. We bought first class sleeper cell tickets to Alexandria for 41 pounds (less than $10). It was a very comfortable ride. It took us about 3 hours to get to our destination.

When we arrived, we tried to figure out where the beach was so I took out my Egyptian phrase book and asked the cabbie where it was. He had no idea what I was talking about and then pulled over next to me the second time to ask me where I got this book from. So that didn’t work. I saw a woman on the street and I asked her. She replied in perfect English, “I don’t speak English.” It was the funniest thing ever because she had the most serious look on her face when she said it. We asked another 3 people before we headed in the right direction and the Mediterranean was in sight. As we were walking along the water, we passed by a crowd of people taking boat rides and just hanging out on the beach. As obvious tourists, we attracted attention. These girls wanted us to take pictures with them. Then, this guy insisted I take a picture with him. I wasn’t sure what to say so I said okay. His friend took our picture, then he said shook my hand and shukraned (thanked) me. It was a bit weird, but the beginning of many pictures to be taken with locals. Oh how we didn’t know!

After lunch at the Fish Market is when our journey of craziness began. We walked to the Citadel. We found out from some locals that Egyptians only had to pay 2 pounds to get in and foreigners had to pay 25 pounds. We didn’t want to pay the foreigner price so we thought we would ask some local guys to buy us some tickets to get in. They got us the tickets, but as soon as the lady saw our tickets, she knew we weren’t Egyptian. Our backpacks screamed “TOURISTS!” We had to get other tickets, but at least we paid student prices of like 15 pounds. We went to the top of the Citadel to take pictures and all of a sudden a group of guys started watching us and taking our pictures. I wasn’t sure at first until I saw the cameras pointed directly at us. The roles were reversed. We were the objects of study. These guys then wanted to take pictures with us, so we agreed. One by one and two by two, these young guys were standing up and taking pictures with us. They would then shake our hands and thank us which we thought was interesting. We felt like some sort of Hollywood stars, until the unimaginable happened.

We finally (well my friend) mustered up the courage to tell the guys that we were done taking pictures with them. We literally spent 10 minutes going around and having our pictures taken with these locals. We got down and started to exit. We didn’t realize until the group of 20 boys or so that we took pictures with were following us. They were following us all around and it got to the point where it was so crowded that was got physically violated. I’ve never had that experience in my life. We had two guys with us, except one just disappeared off somewhere so we had one male guarding us. We had to run from these mob of guys. When we finally exited, some boys saw us and asked me, “Remember me? One more picture?” I didn’t know how to say no so my friend told them a straight “NO.” I’ve never been more creeped out. We apparently were attracting a lot of attention. A lot of locals were coming up to us and taking pictures with us and trying to have conversations with us. From young newlyweds talking about going to Texas soon to little kids trying to sell us single cigarettes. We finally got out of there and went elsewhere.

We cabbed to the Catacombs area, except the cabbie didn’t drop us to the exact location. We had to walk in a local neighborhood to get to the place, which once again attracted much attention. We saw 10-year olds on motorcycles and young girls who wanted to shake our hands. We finally got there around 5pm right when it closed. So we walked back through this local neighborhood and realized we couldn’t stay in one place for some time because we grew mobs of people that liked to surround us and sometimes bother us.

We cabbed out to the beach. We entered a hotel entrance and told them we wanted to take pictures just so we didn’t have to go to the public beach where more people would have bothered us. The hotel receptionists were nice and let us in. When we exited, we found out that the room rates were $200 for locals and $400 for foreigners per night!

After the beach we had dinner. At about 7:30pm, we decided to cab back to the train station and got there at 8:10. We had some challenges figuring out where to buy our tickets from and where our platform was. We thought the next train would leave at 8:45pm so we casually started to walk to our platform. We asked a guy if this was our train and he said yes and it would leave in a few minutes. We ran to the train and just as we thought we made it, we realized the first class sleeper cell was all the way in the front end of the train while we were all the way on the other end. We ran so fast, again. As soon as we entered our cabin, we were out of breath and all the passengers could see how we were gasping for air. Two minutes later, our train left the platform. We completely confused the 8:45pm time with the 8:15pm time.

We got back to Cairo at about 11pm. We got a cab, however the minute we told him we were American, he wanted to charge us $15 instead of 15 Egyptian pounds (equaling to about $3). We said no and that we would just take another cab then. He agreed, except it was like sitting in deathcab. The most awkward thing about the ride was how he slipped on his seat belt. I have never seen this with all the cabs I have been in Cairo. He did it with such ease. The seat belt was already buckled, he just swung it over his head and that is when I wondered why he put it in on and how we weren’t able to. Yet, we made it all safely back home, Alhumdulilah. We survived this strangely adventurous day in Alexandria.

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Eid time in al-Qahira

September 21st, 2009 1 comment

I was talking to a friend about when Eid might be and that’s when I realized I could call the receptionist and find out the same information. He responded, “Yes, Eid is tomorrow.” I was so happy and called my friend to go out and buy some mehndi (henna). It was officially chand raat. We went to a few pharmacies to find it, but they were all for hair. The guy at the pharmacy insisted it could be used for the hand and kept telling us to use it with a “sa-ring”. In the back of my mind I thought he was telling us to use it with a syringe, but hoped it wasn’t. Then I had a confused look on my face and he just popped out a syringe to show me. My mouth just went open and the word, “Uhhhh” came out. He then reassured me that I don’t need to use the “needle” part. Obviously! That would be intensely inappropriate. It was interesting to see with how much ease he took out a syringe. I replied, “La shukran.” (No thanks). I took the henna in the form of powder (that’s used for hair) and paid for it. He didn’t have the exact change to return to me and popped out a mini packet of shampoo and handed that as currency. I was once again confused, but simply took the shampoo packet and walked out the door. I’ve never been given some shampoo packet as currency (bartering, really?) If only I can go to a restaurant with some friends and we could all look into our bags, put some value on our belongings and pay the check with it. (10 pounds of Vodaphone credit minutes? Maybe.)

So now my friends and I had henna in a huge pouch in the form of powder. We read the directions and had to mix it with water and let it sit for an hour. It was an interesting process. We created the liquid form of henna in a small cup and spoon, but now how were we going to put it on our hands without an actual tube. Should we have bought the “sa-ring” from him? I thought of using some toothpicks, but didn’t have any. We were able to find matchsticks. Yes, matchsticks. We put on henna with matchsticks and listening to some old-school pop and Bollywood music. Around 2am we ordered some Papa John’s, which was hard to eat with one hand. We managed.

We were supposed to be ready by 5:30am to leave for Eid prayer. We made plans to go to Al-Azhar mosque for prayer. Though, we were still putting henna on until 3am and finally decided to maybe sleep for an hour before we had to get ready for prayer. I caught some shut-eye for an hour before my alarm went off. I didn’t bring any special Eid outfits from the US, so I just put an outfit together with whatever I had that looked fun. We were waiting in the lobby at 5:15 to catch some cabs. We walked out to the main road. It takes less than a minute to find a cab anywhere around our area and most areas in Cairo. But today was Eid and we couldn’t find any cabs. We found one cabbie who told us he was going home to change and then he would go to Al-Azhar mosque. 5:30 was quickly approaching and we thought we wouldn’t make it to Al-Azhar since there weren’t any cabs coming our way. We decided that we would just go to the local mosque near the Nile River and just do our Eid prayer there. Just as we approached the local mosque, we found a cab. All five of us crammed in this cab because we weren’t going to find another one. We got to Al-Azhar just in time. It was incredibly crowded in there. The prayer was literally five-seven minutes, yet there were hundreds of people in this small, yet famous mosque. It took awhile to get in and out. The crowd reminded me of the Khan-el-Khalili market at night. Catching a cab on the way was much more difficult. We waiting in one area for about 20 minutes then decided to go to the other side of traffic and wait for a cab. We finally found one.

We went back to our dorms and ate breakfast at the local cafe. It was now about 8am and decided to sleep and wake up again around dinner time. Yes, my sleeping schedule is a bit disorganized, but I shall get it back to normal soon, Inshallah. We had dinner at the Pottery Cafe and watched a movie afterward. It was a nice Eid with some good friends.

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Strange Happenings

September 15th, 2009 No comments

So, last night on the way back from campus to the dorms, I was riding the bus. It’s about an hour commute each way because the campus is literally out in the middle of the desert and our dorms is in the city. Think of me living in the Upper West Side or more like the Bronx and my campus out in Long Island. So, naturally, I take naps. But this time, it was different. I knocked out and the next thing I knew I felt some guy’s shoulder against my face. I was sleeping on some guys shoulder! The whole time I was thinking if he had noticed. Of course he did. I could feel his shoulder on my face. I’m not sure how long I was sleeping on him, but I straightened my head and ten minutes later, I fell asleep again and yet again, I fell asleep on his shoulder. I don’t know how or why. We were 5 minutes away from the dorms when I woke up and the guy asks me, “So, did you sleep?” I was thinking if he had noticed at all that I fell asleep on him. I wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or whatnot. He told me how he can’t fall asleep on buses, and here I go and say, “I can fall asleep anywhere.” He probably thought, yeah, I believe you because you just fell asleep on a stranger’s shoulder. But he was nice about it. He didn’t mention anything. But it was indeed awkward.

This evening, I got a phone-call from a guy who said he was the fridge guy and told me if I had the money. I asked him how much it was to rent the fridge. He said 350 pounds. I said, yes, I have it. He said he was downstairs and waiting. I went downstairs only to realize I don’t even know this fridge guy’s name so how would I know who it is when there are about a dozen or so men that hang out at the lobby. So I awkwardly approach this man near the entrance and ask, “Fridge?” He says yes. So I hand over the money and ask for a receipt. He has no idea what I’m talking about. Then, he starts laughing. I didn’t understand. He asked me, “You have the fridge, right?” I’m confused, and say, “Yes.” He says, “Okay, so then I’ll pick up the fridge at the end of the semester.” And that was that. All I thought was, I hope my roommate believes me when I tell her how much I paid to rent the fridge. Its all verbal contracts here for fridges apparently.

Later I went out to buy a power strip for the fridge. I enter this small electronics store a block or so away. I go in and ask him for a power strip. He replies, “20 pounds.” I ask him how much for a smaller one, and he replies, “22 pounds.” I was confused. I thought why not take the bigger one for the cheaper price. He said, “No. This made in China and this made in Toor-ki…this better.” So the Chinese products that are shipped here are worse in quality than the Chinese products delivered to America. It reminded me of the same thing my cousin told me about the Chinese products that are shipped to Pakistan. Oh China!

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Weekend Trip to Alexandria

September 12th, 2009 5 comments

Friday, September 11th

The night before, I was up pretty late with some local friends. We went to a nearby place, and there was a soccer match on…Zamalek vs. El-Ahly. Each time Zamalek scored, the room cheered. I really want to go to a live soccer match and experience all the excitement. Soon, Inshallah!

I got up at 5:45am. I called my sister and my friend who both have their birthdays on 9/11 because Cairo is 6 hours ahead of NYC time. Then I got ready because our bus was leaving at 7am. Cairo is 188 km or 117 miles from Alexandria. It was about a 2.5-hour drive (with some crazy highway driving). The bus driver was excellent in not getting into any accidents. I was quite surprised and thanked him when we returned safely.

We passed through miles of desert before we started seeing some green, then finally right in front of us, the beach-line of Alexandria. It looked like Florida for a bit with all the palm trees. But soon enough, it ousted Florida in comparison. Alexandria has Roman and Greek influences and you can see that throughout the construction of buildings. Alexandria, named after its founder, Alexander the Great had no difficulties creating the city.

Our first stop was the infamous library of Alexandria, built by Alexander’s successor Ptolemy. It was one of the greatest and largest libraries in the world. It was built in 3rd Century BC, until a fire destructed it some centuries later.

Our next stop was the Qaitbay Citadel. The fortress was constructed in the 15th century by Sultan Qaitbay. It had views of the Mediterranean. There was also a small mosque inside.

After taking various pictures inside the Citadel, we went to the Fish Market for lunch. They served us an actual fish (which we all didn’t really expect). It was delish. After lunch, we checked into the Regency Hotel overlooking the Mediterranean. We had a few hours of leisure time until we got back on the bus at 7:30pm to go to the Green Plaza Mall. My friends and I spent that time relaxing and talking on the beach. We dipped our feet inside the water and the temperature was perfect. It was nice and cool. The water was a nice light blue and green color. The sun was starting to go down; it was definitely beautiful.

7:30pm arrived and we boarded the bus. I didn’t really shop (just bought some shawls). A friend and I discovered a mini-amusement park in the back of the mall. The RA’s didn’t mention this to us at all, as if this was normal in the US. There was a go-cart ride in a huge tank of water that my friend and I had to go on. It was 7 pounds for the ride. It was awkward at first because all the locals were looking at how excited we got when we saw it. Though we had a blast on it.

We boarded the bus at 11:30pm and arrived back to our hotel by around midnight. When we got back, my friend had could not find her wallet. She and some other friends went back to the beach to where she believed she left it. One of the workers at the beach said they had it, but the man who returned it had already taken out the money before it was turned it.  At least she got her wallet back, which had sentimental value. My friend and I talked until about 2:30am even though we were exhausted.

 

Saturday, September 12

I woke up at 8am to the sound of wind hitting against our windows. The breeze from the beach was pretty strong in the morning. I took a shower and got dressed for breakfast. It wasn’t all that great (the best part was the shay- aka tea). We left for Catacombs, which was a burial site for the rich. It was accidentally found when a donkey fell into the shaft in 1900. It didn’t survive. There was capacity for 27,000 bodies inside this underground site. We went a few stories down and saw these massive boxes created in the walls where 4 bodies could fit into a box. There was even a meeting area for friends of the dead. The Catacombs is one of the seven medieval wonders of the world.

Our next stop was the Roman Amphitheatre, which was a huge outdoors theatre, seating thousands. This was the site for Egyptian opera and the steps were made of marble. One area was reconstructed with cement in a similar set-up for the site of concerts today. It was certainly historic.

We left for lunch afterwards at the Balbaa’ Restaurant (one of the most famous local Alexandrian restaurants). I’m not sure I really enjoyed the food (just liked the pasta and dessert). I think I’ve had better local food.

After lunch, I bought some more shawls on the street. My friends and I decided to go across the street to the Mediterranean side for some pictures. Crossing the city streets here are a journey. Sometimes, you think you won’t make it. It literally takes us a few minutes to find the opportunity to sprint across (because cars don’t like stopping for people to cross). We finally got to the other side, took pictures and were trying to run across again to board the bus. This time, some guys saw us in distress, but thought it would be funny to scare us even more. They started making sounds to scare us, which we didn’t really find funny until after we crossed the street. We’re so sad! I’m afraid I’ll come back to the states finding myself crossing streets all in the worst ways possible.

We finally arrived back to Zamalek (home) at around 5:30pm and see the need to start my homework. Classes are tomorrow. Still find it weird to have school on Sundays, but hey, I still have a 4-day/week schedule!

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the things I learn here

September 5th, 2009 4 comments

1) Don’t wear brand new shoes to the mosque. They will get stolen. (thanks Yasser)
2) I’m going to defenestrate you means I want to throw you out the window.
3) Don’t get a henna tattoo done from a random vendor at Khan-el-Khalili..you might be allergic to whatever ingredients they put in there. My roomie got it done..and needed injections afterwards bc it burned.
4) Don’t buy things from the vendors around the pyramids (they’ll rip you off for sure).
5) Sketchy neighborhoods probably have the best restaurants.
6) Sunscreen is a must here.
7) Cab rides in Cairo make you feel like you’ll get into a dozen car accidents before your destination or you’ll just see them happen around you. It’s a thrill ride.
8) No matter how much you want to learn Arabic from a local..they’ll only speak to you in English.
9) Women at restaurants stand outside bathroom doors and so when you use the bathroom they’ll give you some toilet paper squares. Then in plain English, they say “Money!” Always bring your own! (My local male friend just told me he was going to warn me about that, but thought it would be awkward..lol)
10) Service at restaurants are usually slow. Sometimes you just have to get up yourself and pick up the check.
11) Marriage proposals are common here. They are straight-forward when they ask you to marry them.
12) Cars don’t like to drive in their proper lanes. They are just there for show, like maybe they should follow them, but its not necessary. So in a two-lane road, you’ll see 4 cars riding along side-by-side. How cabbies get through them, I don’t know!

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“Shakira Shakira”

September 3rd, 2009 8 comments

So, we went on a cruise on the Nile for iftar last night. It was beautiful. Then, while we were seated for dinner, a Sufi dancer came out. He did his twirls with his many layers. It was awesome.  Though, I wonder how much of it was really authentic.  Would a Sufi really come out and “entertain” us?  Or was it a guy, paid to dance for the foreigners?

Later that night, we took a cab out to the Khan-el-Khalili market again. I just love that place. It reminds me so much of haggling in Karachi (Tariq Road!). I was trying to bargain, but was profoundly failing at it. As soon as we open our mouths, they knew we were American. Any facial expressions gave it away. Some guy called out to me, “Shakira, Shakira“. I was confused because I didn’t hear any Shakira songs playing and looked around. My friend told me, he just called you Shakira because of your hair. I have never gotten that before. There was another guy that I didn’t want to buy any items from because he was ripping me off, but all he said when I said, “La, la” was “I like your hair”. These random things that locals tell us are indeed funny.

Getting annoyed with how many vendors were ripping us off, I called an Egyptian friend of mine (whom I met through Language Mixer at Dickinson). He thought I got mugged, but all I said was, I’m getting ripped off and need your help. He came in 30 minutes with a friend of his. They both did all the bargaining and haggling for us. All we did was tell them what we liked. It was very cool. They were super sweet. I’m very thankful I got to meet him. I got the chance to buy some arm bands, hip scarves, and prayer rugs.  I love shopping there!

We met some of the other international students there. They were having dinner. It was already 1:30am when we took a cab back to our dorms in Zamalek. My friend and I stayed up until 4:30am talking. I stayed up a little longer for Sahour, so got the chance to pray Fajr. I then woke up at 2pm, which made fasting today super easy! Going out in the desert just makes it so much more difficult. I don’t know how construction workers can work out in the desert and keep their fasts! I admire that.

Today, for iftar we took a cab out to 26 July Road. It’s just 5 minutes away. We were looking for a restaurant and couldn’t really find one on the main road. I asked a guard in whatever Arabic I could muster up. I asked him what’s any good restaurant around here. He told us to walk over 3 blocks and make a right. We went there, and couldn’t find any restaurants. Then we asked another person in the area where he sent us. He pointed in the same direction the previous guard told us about. We were standing in front of these huge wooden doors, which looked like some church or building. We were just waiting around in front of these doors and looking for some windows that would let us see inside people sitting at tables and eating. We couldn’t find anything like that. My friend who studied abroad here told us about a place with huge wooden doors. So we decided to just push open these doors. I opened it very slowly, just in case it was some creepy place where it seemed like things would start falling from the ceiling. All of a sudden, we entered another world. It seemed like a scene from the 1920′s, with decorations and lighting done very dim and classic. It was smoky and dark. I was waiting for some flappers to come out or something. They seated us and we had such great Egyptian food that we haven’t had since we’ve been here. Our secret discovery!

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AUC..Zamalek..Khan-el-Khalili

September 2nd, 2009 No comments

So, I began my day with some phone-calls…friends waking me up for Sahour..I didn’t want to wake up, so I didn’t fast. I feel really bad, but its soo hard with this sun during noon time. Inshallah, I will be able to. I then woke up at 7:30am to catch the 8am bus! I was hoping there would be a later one, but with this Ramadan schedule, there are less buses available and classes haven’t started yet.

I got nothing accomplished at AUC. My school was supposed to have paid for my bus pass, but I couldn’t find an invoice for it, so I’m trying to figure that out. I’m going to sleep in and just go back to campus Thursday.

Tonight, we went to dinner at some restaurant in the area. As soon as I walked in with a group, I see a familiar face already sitting at a table. He turned around and it was Alex Brock. Out of all the people and all the restaurants in Zamalek, I bumped into him. It was so great. Another Dickinsonian! He’s doing his Fulbright in Islamic Philosophy, which is so awesome. Best of luck Alex!

The group then went to Khan-el-Khalili (a famous marketplace to haggle). I loved it! It’s just like Karachi, where you bargain for whatever you want. They have so many great things there. I’ll have to just pack a suitcase of things from there. I got a prayer mat, keychain with the Pyramids on it, Pharaoh pen and Cleopatra deck of cards. Then we went for some shisha at Fishrawy. It was so crowded, but very fun! Can’t wait to go again!

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