Saturday, December 6, 2008

Zipping Around All Day in Zamalek and Doqqi

I'm sure I've kept everyone in suspense by not crafting a blog entry yesterday, but I was in fact being both quite social and academically productive. Before I get to that, though, I'll catch up on the rest of Thursday. My advising session served to eliminate one of my options when my adviser convincingly suggested I not leave AUC without having some kind of accreditation to show for my coursework. He also, unhelpfully, told me it really wasn't about the decision one makes as how one makes that decision. "Sometimes," he added, "I flip a coin." Gee, thanks. I'll just flip a fifty piastre coin to determine the entire course of the next year of my life. Anyway, at this point my inclination is to just bite the bullet and take the class I'm not fond of that will drag me out to the new campus simply because it will give me both the graduate diploma and leave open the choice of pursuing the Master's if I so choose.
After advising, I ran into Cynthia and ended up going with her and Reham to Canary, a typical Egyptian sandwich place. The novelty of getting "street ful" has not yet worn off. I ordered a couple ful sandwiches, Reham got one and Cynthia got ta3mayya and we headed back to the Greek Campus to have our snacks. All was good in well until one of the ubiquitous street cats swatted my second ful sandwich onto the ground and began devouring it. Ma3lesh.
Next came class. We discussing the integration of immigrants and, since that's the topic of one of my papers, I chimed in with my opinions and insights (mostly for the sake of my participation grade rather than because of having anything ingenious and brilliant to add). Afterward, I conscripted my friend Brandy to dine with me. She'd already purchased koshary for dinner, so I stopped for a ta3mayya sandwich and a ful sandwich hoping that this time I'd not run into any pawsy, hungry felines. We took our sustenance within the cat-free safety of my flat while watching Al-Jazeera International--a treat for Brandy whose pricey Zamalek flat is not, for some reason, equipped with a TV. Once our Egyptian eats had been consumed, we headed to meet the British girl and Indian guy I met at Sequoia the other night for drinks and shisha (though I had neither, but some delicious lime juice instead) at a rooftop bar above the Thai restaurant in Zamalek that I go to from time to time. I hadn't known about the bar until Thursday night, but was pleased to have been made to discover it. The view overlooking the Nile is amazing and, even better, you can order Thai food up to the roof. Through Sophie, the British girl, I met an Egyptian documentarian who told us about a film he made following the history of an Egyptian lion-taming family. Supposedly this family owns all of the lions in Egypt. Who knew?
After arguing yet again with a cab-driver and threatening to disembark from his moving vehicle, I made it home safely and paid the price I originally told him I was going to pay. Rather boring, really--I'd kind of hoped to practice my tuck and roll on the 26th of July Bridge.
The following day (now yesterday) saw me awake in the honest-to-goodness morning. It was the first time I'd awoken before noon in eons. Naturally, I had a new lease on life at 11:46 because of this and decided to clean the kitchen. Since I've a guest arriving on Monday, I keep feeling the urge to pretend that Ross and I are model apartment-dwellers by tidying up. I cleaned all of the dishes in the sink, then the sink itself and the adjoining counter. The Egyptian fates conspired against me and our water, as often happens, simply stopped working for a number of hours. Ma3lesh. I ate some muesli and yogurt and proceded to do some online chores--extending my trip in France, checking out train fares, making sure I have places to stay, etc. Once the H2O was restored, I showered and headed to meet my fellow ambassadorial scholar, Ambereen for coffee and to catch up. We ended up lingering there and working on various things (I managed to get seven or eight hundred words done on my integration paper). Coffee thus turned into dinner. Ambereen headed for the opera after that and I continued working until it was time for me to join Brandy and Erin to go to our friends' place in Doqqi. Cara is our classmate who's here on Fulbright and Justin is her husband, they're quite possibly the friendliest, most stable, most wholesome couple you could ever hope to meet--sickening, really. Just kidding. Anyway, it was Justin's birthday and a bunch of us gathered to wish him well and play games like Apples to Apples. The festivities, which started at 9 wound down after midnight, but another Fulbrighter (there were three of them there altogether), and I (much better off with my tuition-paying Rotary scholarship, of course) stayed and chatted until after 4 AM. It was a lot of fun and I find moments like these contributing to my feeling more and more at ease living in Egypt.
Today, I'm determined to finish off the Somali integration paper once and for all and begin fleshing out my next paper. I'm breaking to get Thai for dinner later with friends, though, to keep sane.

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