Wednesday, September 15, 2010

confusion in the library

I got my class with Professor Ikram! I can die happy now. *sigh of contentment*
Of course, now that I'm enrolled in a new course (or at least a different version of the old course), I have new books to buy. There are three textbooks for Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, but the professor recommended that we only purchase two of them. I did that this morning after switching my classes, and shelled out 400 pounds for two semi-large (paperback) books. That's about $80, which really isn't bad, especially since in the US those same two books at the UCSB bookstore would most likely have cost at least that much each. Still, it seems like a lot of money. I think my brain is adjusting to Egyptian currency and prices more and more each day, since now my reaction to paying four pounds for lunch is "That's waaayy too much money. I could get it cheaper somewhere else!" although I know perfectly well that four pounds is less than a dollar, and I could never get that much food for a dollar at home.
After my visit to the bookstore, I dropped by the library for what I hoped would be a quick visit. All I needed to do was get a book out of reserve, photocopy about thirty pages, and then return it. Because this is AUC, however, the completion of this process entailed the use of four different computers, multiple treks up and down the stairs (I have actually visited every floor of the library today, and some more than once), and talking to two different people about where on earth this book could be.
It's called The Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Its call number is DT60.B34 - you see, I've memorized it. I started my search by looking for it on the normal shelves, not such a crazy place, you might think, especially since the call number said CHECK SHELF after it. However, it wasn't there. Then I asked a friendly man at the reserve desk if he had it, since my teacher had said that at least on copy was on reserve. No dice. He sent me first to the reference shelf, then back up to the third floor to check in special reserves when that didn't work. By the way, look at the crazy scanner that was on his desk:
thank you, american taxpayers, for my egyptian university.
I couldn't find the book on the normal shelves, or on the special reserve shelves. Finally the lady at the desk took me to the special reserves reference shelf, and we found it there. Just to make it clear, all four places I looked or this book had the exact same call number, and apparently that is also true for most of the other books here.Of course, once I had the books in hand, I had to follow their rules to copy it, since I couldn't check it out. One chapter, or 10% of the book. I tried to get a little more, but she caught me, and I had to ask for only half of what I needed. To make the experience even better, the book couldn't even be photocopied immediately, I was told to come back in an hour. Aren't libraries wonderful?
After that lovely bit of confusion, I actually went to class and experienced some more. Some tidbits from my day: an argument with a professor over free will versus fate in Dramatic Literature, a confusing essay assignment (topic = whatever, length = whatever) in Ancient Egyptian Literature, and just general confusion in Arabic class. Actually, scratch that, Arabic made sense today, and that in and of itself was confusing.
I came home on a very crowded bus that drove much too quickly, and started on my homework. I guess I wasn't exactly 100% dedicated all day, but it seems like I was. I got it all done, anyway. Around 9 pm I went downstairs with some reading for Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt to get dinner, only to arrive about 30 seconds after the cafeteria shut down. So that was fun too. I was okay, actually, because I ate a big lunch of falafel and cucumbers and pita on campus today. I'll have better luck with dinner tomorrow, I swear.
No news on the cell phone front, still, but I was told to talk to reception in the morning, and hopefully they will call housekeeping down from their lair to return my mobile. Hopefully.
Two quick pictures:
'sorry seems to be the hardest word'?? AUC computers are weird.
be quiet in the computer lab, or this little girl will kill you.
with her brain.

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