Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm writing from New York, my last stop on this side of the Atlantic for the summer. My feelings about Egypt are a mix of eager anticipation and dread. I received an email last nights from one of my flatmates letting me know that, while I've been gone, somehow the internet, one of our AC units, our phone, and the washing machine have all gone out. The feeling in the pit of my stomach that forms when I think back on the anxiousness I had last May in part because of the landlord has done much to quell my looking forward to returning to old friends, jumping in and getting moving on my thesis work, starting my fellowship position on the new campus, and maybe traveling a bit.
What's more, AUC's website is currently down and I have no indication that my tuition has yet been waived. On top of that, I have no idea how to get my transportation arranged for. Ma3lesh! I'll have to wade through that mess when I arrive.
Thankfully this time, vis-à-vis the landlord, there's less at stake. I already have the contract signed. While I won't be there at the beginning of the month, I've suggested my flatmates refuse to pay rent since the landlord is violating the contract. Apparently he told Phil and Cyn that they somehow broke the already moribund AC and the ailing washing machine. Phil has been on the phone with the internet company ceaselessly and the landlord refuses to change carriers. Maddening!
Anyway, I'm soaking up my last bits of carefree enjoyment while in the Big Apple. I met up with a friend of my Egyptian CMRS colleague Reham's and am meant to grab lunch with the student who I sublet to this summer. If anyone has sage advice about Egyptian landlords, I'm all ears.

Meanwhile, check out how Cairenes are celebrating Ramadan, courtesy of Daily News Egypt.

In other news, the pirate-fighting fisherman have returned home to a hero's welcome in Egypt.

As the trial of alleged Hezbollah operatives got under way in Egypt with some of the accused alleging torture at the hands of the Egyptian government.

Hamas is accused of abusing prisoners in Gaza. See a clip from Al-Jazeera here.

As Egypt sets about restoring a historic Jewish temple, some speculate the move is a way to mitigate the controversy surrounding UNESCO head-hopeful, Faruq Hosni who infamously declared in parliament, "I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt".

The Seattle Times reviews Café Riche in downtown Cairo. In my humble opinion, much of the charm of the place waned when the Egyptian people suffered the loss of "the tolerant atmosphere of old Cairo". The service the single time I went there was, despite the utter warmth of the waiter, horrid. The food wasn't much better. The article touts it as a breakfast place and I'll have to admit I haven't tried it, but the offerings at places like Maison Thomas are comparable (scrambled eggs, bread, etc.) If you're looking for breakfast in Cairo, though, and you're hoping for something American-style, Lucille's in Ma'adi (find their breakfast menu here) is the way to go. For something more Egyptian (and much cheaper than any of the other choices), a humble bean cart or fuul and ta3mayya at to-go place are my preference.

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