Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Migration and a Meal with Maged

Thankfully, the migrating wasn't me to another apartment. No, I've finished all my reading for International Refugee Law and have moved on to the course packet for Migration and Refugee Movements in the Middle East and North Africa. I'm currently reading about migration between the Maghreb and western Europe.
I was supposed to meet Maged, my young Egyptian friend who met me at the airport the day I arrived, for lunch at one. He overslept, apparently, and didn't call me until half past two, further stoking my ire at the Egyptian conception of time and punctuality. In the end though, when I'm in my right mind and feeling "ambassadorial" I'm able to remind myself that it was I who elected to come and live here, knowing full well the standard operating procedure and that lateness is not intended as disrespect or even thought of as being disrespectful in the same way as in the States. Maged and I ended up lunching anyway. My deference to his palate and his fondness for American fast food coupled with our options being limited by Ramadan left us eating at Pizza Hut. Yes, shame on me again. That's the second time I've been there since I've been in Egypt. Ma'alish. I had a small garlic pizza to which I added ketchup (I'm practically a local in this practice). Trying to battle my recent frustrations with Egypt, I asked Maged what his favorite things were about the country. Initially he told me he didn't like Egypt and would emigrate when he could, but admitted that the social dynamic here (the near obsession with not being alone) was something he didn't feel he could find outside of Egypt. Where did he want to move, I asked. The States or Australia. Some playful banter in which we made fun of one another's pronunciations of words in the native tongue of the other punctuation our discussions of culture and government. I also gave him a CD with some of my favorite music on it to see what he thinks of it; I already convinced him to try Asian food and won him over. Tomorrow evening, if things pan out (oh no, I feel like I could've substited insha'Allah there), we're going to the Evangelical mega-churchesqe institution right downtown. It should be an experience.
On the walk home, glad to have gotten out of my apartment and hung out with someone, I grudgingly admitted to myself that, despite the numerous inconveniences of Ramadan, it's nice to see the array of tables and chairs set up for the poor to come and have iftar. The preparations, the cooking food, the juice vendors--all of it is rather nice, really.
Tonight will involve a run to Metro Market in Zamalek with Ross to refresh our stock of groceries and, you guessed it, more reading.

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