Monday, October 13, 2008

Lebanese Food and Looking for Zs

Refugee Law yesterday involved a discussion on American military deserters from the war in Iraq and whether or not they could could be considered refugees (a timely topic in Canada at the moment). For dinner, I persuaded classmates Cynthia, Mitchell, and Mallory to join me at Taboula, a Lebanese restaurant about a hundred yards from the Cairo Capital Club where we have class. It proved to be an excellent decision. Cynthia and I split tasty falafel (of the true Lebanese variety, none of this Egyptian ta3mayya business) with taboula and tahina enjoyed inside warm, delicious pita and spinach sambusaks.
After dinner, I met up with a friend at a café who used to work for the Red Cross but is here studying Arabic for the year. He told me about an opportunity to study Arabic next summer that I plan on looking further into.
Feel particularly exhausted, I dragged myself home and was in bed around 1:30. This, of course, is quite early for me. I was hoping to convince my body that it was ok to catch zome Zs at the time of the night, but the ol' body wasn't having any of it. Instead of hopping on the insomnia machine (my laptop), I finished Brothers Karamazov. As is the case with finishing any truly good piece of literature, it's bittersweet. It's like having to say goodbye to a traveling companion. I fell asleep sometime after the pre-dawn call to prayer, only to be awoken by the dastardly rooster. Two things kept me sane--remembering I had earplugs left over from my Lufthansa flight and making the firm decision to wake up at 10:45 the following day (now today) no matter how little sleep I'd gotten so that I might more effectively fall asleep from pure exhaustion, hopefully resetting my circadian rhythm in the process.
Well, I ended up waking up at 11:40, which is actually quite something given that my habit has become to rise at 1:30 or even 2. I fought the urge to remain in bed for the rest of eternity and set about being productive--washing dishes, writing a reflection paper on Arab and Asian migration to the Gulf states, etc.
Ross arrived home not too long ago and invited me to get koshary with him. Because koshary is impossible to refuse, I joined him in getting dinner at the koshary place two doors down where we are greeted by the same overzealous server everytime. At least this time he didn't guffaw while trying to spoonfeed Ross his first bite. Afterwards, I mentioned the pastry shop across the street looking as though it might have some appetizing treats. Wandering in, we were greeted by a friendly old man with a few teeth missing (too many honey-drenched pieces of baklava, no doubt). I was able to understand a lot of his Arabic, but Ross handled the order we placed. For the equivalent of a $1.75 each, we came away with an entire tray of different sorts of baklava and konafa-like pastries with cherries in the middle. We returned home with our delicious loot via the juice shop where I practiced reading the Arabic on the menu while Ross availed himself of the fresh fruit juice. For the edification of all, I will include a photo of the treats that are now half-gone.

News of Egypt and the Middle East:
Cairo-Alexandria Stock Exchange rises in wake of government interventions in banks
Egyptian law discriminates against Christians, causes criminal prosecution and custody issues
Lebanon versus a food fight

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