Friday, July 31, 2009

Checking in from Wisconsin

There are lots of things I'd like to do when I get back to the Middle East in September: reconnect with old friends, meet the new people who'll have joined our program, eat koshari and Yemeni food, go on a felucca ride, and all of those other predictable Cairene delights. However, I'm also trying to compile a list of new things to experience and new places to visit, some closer and some further afield. Maybe Turkey or Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine? Within Egypt I'd like to make it south to Luxor and Aswan, northeast to Port Said and over to the oases in the west. We'll see how long my ambition lasts. If I find my fellowship responsibilities too arduous to go off on longer distance jaunts, I always have the little things in Cairo to keep me entertained. Maybe the Japanese gardens at Helwan or the Giza Zoo.
If any of you has suggestions, I would be more than happy to entertain them!

Oh, and I'm thinking about taking Arabic classes or looking for some kind of language exchange. I think it would be shameful to spend a year and a half or two years without some kind of minimum proficiency.

In the meantime, here is some more news out of Egypt:
Former mufti declares Egyptian gas exports to Israel '7aram'
Border with Palestine to be temporarily opened next week
Number of death sentences in Egypt spikes in recent months
Swine flu keeping some from the Hajj this year (an article by my friend Liam Stack)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hello from Chicago

Instead of letting my blog lie completely fallow for the summer and inspired to think of my home away from home away from home by some tasty falafel I had at Sultan's Market in Chicago (where I'm visiting friends), I'm going to include a couple recent news stories coming out of Egypt. Over the course of the summer and especially when I return to Egypt, I plan to maintain my blog though it will transition from a project undertaken to keep Rotarians, friends, and family informed to something with a more general appeal. Stay tuned!

US Federal court reverses ban on progressive Islamic scholar
Murder of Egyptian woman in German courtroom leads to outcry
This article is from earlier in the month but bears reading. Find further background here.