Sunday, August 29, 2010

drive through the desert

Another day of boring bureaucracy and repetitious Arabic today. However, I did learn to hail a taxi, tell time, and count to 100, so I guess it can't have been that bad. Also, I only had to wait 45 minutes for my ID card, instead of the 3 hours I would have waited yesterday. Still no progress on the paying for survival Arabic front, though. They only take cash, and the ATMs on campus wouldn't let me withdraw what I needed to pay. I'll have to try again tomorrow to make up the full amount, then again after that to get enough to buy my bus pass.
Speaking of buses, the drive home today was agonizing, sitting next to the hot window in the cold bus for an hour and a half in traffic. At one point, someone noted that the bus was driving on the wrong side of the highway, but I didn't have the courage (or the energy) to look.
When we got back to Zamalek, everyone was starving, so four of us walked to dinner, this time to an Egyptian fine dining establishment overlooking the Nile. We ate Italian food brought to us on silver trays, and... Okay, who am I kidding? It was Pizza Hut.
not this pizza hut & obviously not my photo. maybe next week, though...

It really is a restaurant in Egypt, though. Two floors, comfy chairs, real menus, and waiters too! We had problems ordering, mostly because we were confused about what 'pepperoni' meant. Apparently, in the Middle East, if you order 'pepperoni', what you get is olives and mushrooms. Don't ask why, not even the manager could tell us. Eventually, he did fix our order for us, and the rest of dinner was delicious. The best part was, when it was time to pay, no one in our group skimped and tried to pay less than their share. It was a miracle, and I think it shows that Cairo really does bring out the best in people.
To finish up, these are some pictures I've taken on the drive to and from school. This is what I'll be seeing twice almost every day for the next nine months.

this is some kind of mausoleum thing, we think. it's really huge, and covered in crosses.
smog on the nile
a very famous mosque
permanently ongoing construction

the desert around new cairo
unfinished apartments

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