Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ma'adi, Mohandaseen and Methods Reading

Late yesterday afternoon, Phil and I met at Tahrir Sq. where Marise and her friend Michelle picked us up. Marise, who deftly dodges microbuses and taxis while simultaneously holding conversations in Arabic and English, conveyed us safely and soundly down the Corniche and on to Ma'adi. Along the way, we passed Ahly (soccer team) fans and trucks atop which there were people perched precariously.

Our destination was Lucille's. We were going for a 4:30 brunch, which I'm not convinced even qualifies as brunch at all, but we had a great time. We went to a coffee shop afterward and chatted until we realized it was after 8 PM. Among our various interesting conversations, we talked about the expectation Marise's parents, who grew up in Egypt but have since lived in Canada and the States for many years, had of anyone who would want to date or marry her. Interestingly, aside from religious qualifications (the family is Catholic), the most important thing to Marise's mom is that this potential suitor be at ease in the social setting of Egyptian family life where, like when I went to the Red Sea with my Coptic friend, literally dozens of relatives and friends and relatives of friends sit around for hours shooting the breeze and eating and reveling in the opportunity to be in one another's company. No stiff, watch-watching Americans allowed. Marise and Michelle dropped Phil and me back off downtown and I showered and got ready to meet up with Phil again to go to our friend Amanda's in Mohandaseen for a party. There were people from the International Organization for Migration, from Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance, and from AUC in addition to expats and Egyptians in other jobs and from other occupations. I chatted with a couple of French Canadians and realized just how different the Québecois accent is from standard French. Conversations centered on travel experiences or planned travels and, for my friend Cara who's birthday is a week before mine, our plans for a joint birthday party next Friday.
Today I plan to get some reading done for my Research Methods class lest the world think I've forgotten I'm here attending graduate school and volunteering (my English class, as I may have mentioned, starts up again on the 17th).

Men arrested for distributing Bibles at Cairo book fair
Hamas says no to weekend truce talks in Cairo
Calls for Egypt to account for harboring former Nazis

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