Monday, November 2, 2009

Today, walking down the street, I ran into a lovely new scam. I was ignoring the world with the aid of my headphones and a man came up beside me and shouted "welcome" until I finally took one earbud out. He walked alongside me, realizing I wasn't about to stop, and engaged me in conversation about where I was from. He asked me about the cost of living in Cairo, whether I didn't think it was cheaper than the US an Europe and it didn't take me long to realize what he was getting at. He claimed to be a Palestinian that had been in Egypt for 20 days, that his wife and four kids were killed in an Israeli attack on Gaza, and then he'd found the Egyptians to be terribly inhospitable and unwelcoming. He then told me that an old man in Dubai had been paying his way at the hostel for these 20 days, but that he had stopped and now had nowhere to stay. Without bringing up the fact that the Palestinian border wasn't opened 20 days ago, I politely told him we didn't have any extra beds in our apartment. He told me he only need me to go with him to the hostel to pay $7 which "wasn't much". He backpedaled and said, "well, it is a lot for me". He proceeded to tell me that he hadn't eaten in 20 hours (20 being his favorite number, apparently). I told him I didn't feel comfortable giving him money but would be glad to buy him a meal at the restaurant right across the street from where we were. His hunger magically vanished, he shook my hand, and disappeared into the crowd.
That was but one interesting conversation I managed to have today, but I'm getting up in the early hours tomorrow to be able to catch the bus to new campus, so those are stories better saved for another time. In the meantime, enjoy the news:

News & Issues

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