Thursday, August 26, 2010

the 32 hour day

It's finally over. All I have left to do is write this blog post and then I can crash.
My day started at 5:00am pacific time with some last minute packing and a drive to LAX. My family stuck around while I got checked in, but then mercilessly abandoned me to face security alone. Which turned out fine, actually. I even remembered to take my belt off.
Then I had a short wait for my flight to JFK, which seemed long at the time, but now is in the distant past. The couple I sat next to were disgustingly infatuated with each other, making my lonely plane ride just that much more fun.
Anyway, once I arrived at JFK, I had time between check-in and boarding to grab an iced coffee and a muffin. Both of which got onto my new shirt. So that was lovely, and then I boarded the plane, and spent the next 13 hours or so trapped in a metal cylinder with screaming children, no one to talk to, and only Mockingjay to entertain me.
It was a very entertaining read, and what parts of it confused me I'm sure were due to the fact that I haven't re-read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (the first and second books in the trilogy) for a long time.
Shortly after I finished Mockingjay, we landed in Cairo. The city looked huge, spread out beneath the plane, and now that I've driven through it, I can confirm that it really is that huge.
The temperature was only 86 degrees outside, and after an hour of waiting in immigration and customs and baggage lines, I was very glad it wasn't any hotter! I met some people from AUC who were taking the same bus to the dorms as I was, and together we shared our first experience of Cairo driving.
I think it would be wrong to say that Egyptians in Cairo are bad drivers. After all, I only saw one accident the entire time we drove, and it seemed incidental. A rule of thumb for driving in Cairo seems to be that no matter how many lanes are painted on the pavement, there is always room for at least one more. Maybe two. Oh, you really need to get by? Three is fine. The air was constantly filled with honking horns, and not the crunch of metal and squeal of brakes that I was dreading. My conclusion is, all the best drivers in the world live in Cairo, just for the practice. After all, who needs to follow the road signs as long as nobody gets hurt?
The Zamalek dorms were just as nice as I'd heard they were, and I ended up on the 3rd floor, in a double room, currently without a second occupant. Hopefully one will arrive tomorrow, though, because I know I'd be lonely without anyone else to share this giant room with.
We were served a complementary lunch (at 4pm Cairo time) and were 'orientated' to our new living situation. Apparently, there's a demerit system. Caught immodestly dressed (no shoulders, ladies!) in a common area? 2 demerits. Caught with an alcohol bottle (empty or not)? 4 demerits! Shame on you. Just one more, and you'll have to find a new place to live! (Better keep those PDAs private... Oh, and yes, that includes mixed-gender hugs.)
After orientation, I unpacked, and discovered my woeful need for hangers. I don't know where to buy them, but the RAs are all very nice, and I'm sure they can help.
By 7:30pm Cairo time, I was nodding off, and only the promise of being taken to buy a cell phone by and RA could keep me awake. A tiring but fruitful hour later, I am now the owner of a tiny little cell phone, and 50 whole minutes to talk on it. Wow!
And now, friends, it's time to sleep. Time check: 12:52pm in California, 9:52pm in Cairo. T-minus some preferably large number of hours before I wake up and start my first full day in Egypt.

1 comment:

  1. awww..... sorry im belated in reading these... miss you.
    - Mags