Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Molasses Laps

It occurs to me anew that getting things accomplished in Egypt is like trying to swim laps in molasses. Not only in the resistance that you mean in accomplished even the most mundane of tasks, but in the mindset you inevitably fall into. Knowing that everything will be an undertaking, you're disinclined to take initiative. I say this, I'll remind you, having only been back a day and a half.
I awoke this morning (with a sore throat-hopefully just Cairo pollution and my AC which, al-hamdulilleh, is functioning again) to breakfast while watching Al-Jazeera and then to set about trying to look into visa requirements and to respond to emails. Lo and behold, once is marked "URGENT" and comes to me from AUC. Once of my two classes for the semester, the European System of the Protection of Human Rights, has been canceled due to low enrollment. That's some excellent planning on the part of the university, especially when they've known for months how many students registered for the class. Now I have to find another class from the sparse list of those that count as CMRS credit.
My other class, the one focused on Palestinian Refugees, despite being held out in the desert and requiring a total of nearly two hours commuting round trip, promises to be interesting. As I was walking to the Mustafa Core Center in the darkness, I looked around the courtyard in front of the library and was reminded that, despite the bureaucratic nightmares and the poor planning, AUC built a gorgeous campus in New Cairo. I mean it really is stunning. Less stunning was the busride back. The creative driving approach the driver took and his liberal use of both the gas pedal and the brakes, sometimes nearly simultaneously, left me feeling thoroughly nauseous by the time (after 11 PM) I staggered out at the gates of the old main campus.
Despite the relatively short duration of my honeymoon, I am determined to keeping doing things–anything that seems even mildly productive, rather than zoning out and peering deep into the glow of Facebook blue that all-too often emanates from my laptop. Reading for my thesis seems sensible and I think I'll put off going to the visa office until after Ramadan when the hours have returned to regular. After dinner, I'll probably go get groceries in Doqqi or Zamalek.
Speaking of Ramadan, here's a clip of CNN's Zain Verjee reporting on Ramadan in Cairo a little over a week ago:

Israeli PM Netanyahu to visit Cairo next Sunday
Egyptian government threatens to take action against private telecom companies for low prices
Egyptian police kill yet more African migrants trying to reach Israel
Al-Jazeera Clip: Israel settlers push further into Palestinian lands

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