Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Bit Weary

Tomorrow will mark two weeks that I've been in Cairo, and I think the brief getaway to Alexandria will be a welcome reprieve. The heat, pollution, inefficiency, Ramadan, the constant stares and obnoxious comments from Egyptians, the honking, and so on are outweighing the delicious Egyptian food (that I can't find in all our normal places during Ramadan) and the friendliness of Egyptian friends (though I just found out I'm going to be in a class with my friend of five years that I lunched with the other day, which is great). I was told that you have to fight for everything here, and whoever it was that said that was spot on. AUC's New York office just sent its North American graduate students an invoice for $15 on top of the $7000-9000+ most of us have already paid. Something vague about a fee increase and a trite apology about the "inconvenience" was included in the lower left hand corner. To me that seems unethical--adding a fee after I'm already enrolled and registered. It's like the Cairene cabbie trying to squeeze more money out of you after you've already agreed on the fare at the beginning of the cab ride.
Dinner at Café Tabasco in Zamalek was about the only redeeming part of the day. During my walk there, the beauty of the palms and the banyan tree by Cairo Tower and the other greenery was sullied by trash and the locked gates and chains that prevented anyone getting near them. The corpse of a recently deceased cat in a pile of trash along a main road didn't score any points either.
No, I haven't crashed and no I absolutely do not hate Egypt. I'm just tired of everything, every little thing, being so taxing. From my landlord to the friendly, seemingly harmless kid on the Qasr al-Nil bridge, to the cab driver, to AUC--everyone seems to want money. And those that end up with my money want more. Egypt would be a lot easier to deal with if I was just settled and the harassment let up.

Coincidentally, a good article about Coptic Cairo came out today
Inflation is impacting Ramadan
An Egyptian's comic strip-style take on life in Egypt

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