Tuesday, September 7, 2010

halloo? my friendiss? halloo?

It has been an incredibly long day. It started early with a trip to Islamic Cairo, turned into homework time, then a two hour dinner which stretched to four and a half hours, then even more homework, until finally, it's blogging time!
Honestly, no matter how late I have to stay up to blog, it's one of my favorite parts of the day. I like getting all my thoughts down on 'paper' and sorting through everything in my head so it makes sense.
Anyway, I spent most of the Islamic Cairo trip with a splitting headache because I let myself get dehydrated in the heat, but even that couldn't make me ignore the beautiful buildings all around me. We started at al-Azhar mosque (which is home to one of the oldest universities in the world), and continued through town, stopping on almost every street corner to see a new mosque or medieval Egyptian building. In order to make up for not paying much attention to the tour, I took lots of pictures, and I've put some of them below.
the green minaret
fancy carvings like this were all over the place
500 year old minarets are just part of the skyline
a corinthian column stolen (for real) from the romans
mausoleum entrance, with copper and iron doors
bathhouse ceiling
the traffic waiting for us outside of al-Azhar
Our tour guide on this trip was, again, our old friend. We were a bit surprised to see him, since he'd told us on the last trip that he didn't know anything about a trip to Old Cairo. I guess he was confused or joking, though, because there he was. I don't know what it is, but every time we meet him again, he just gets more annoying. He says "halloo?" to get our attention every time someone tries to take a picture while he is talking. I tried to get a video of him saying it so I could share it with you, but failed. Instead here is a clip of him talking in the living room of an ancient mansion we visited:

As it turns out, the bazaar we visited a few days ago, Khan el-Khalili, backs right onto Islamic Cairo, so we can visit both again at once. I really want to go back, since there were some very interesting little shops and stalls lining the road, including one selling musical instruments, which I'm sure are pretty cheap, but might still be worth a look.
tiny guitars for sale
When we got back to the dorms, I tried to do homework and pretty much failed except for my excursion to the AUC bookstore, conveniently attached to our dorm, where I purchased one of my textbooks for Ancient Egyptian Literature on the cheap.
Then it was time to meet the other UC study abroad students and our advisors for dinner at a restaurant on the Nile about halfway down Zamalek. The taxi ride was a short adventure, and we arrived at the restaurant just in time to wait for sunset and our food. Dinner was completely delicious, and I'd love to visit that restaurant again, except I'm sure it was very expensive, and it wasn't on my dime this time. Well, at least not directly. UC budget crisis, what?
my dinner - a plate of meat and french fries. mmm.
hibiscus juice or something. delicious.
dessert, which was a baked milk/sugar thing. yummy.
turkish coffee, which tasted like flowers and mud.
After dinner, we were promised a boat trip on the Nile, which we were assured would only take half an hour. The boat was delayed, though, so we were supposed to wait twenty minutes for it to get back. Those twenty minutes turned out to be equal to two and a half hours in Egyptian time. It was tiring, for sure, but actually okay, since I got to meet and hang out with lots of other AUC/UC students.
Finally the boat got back, and after some drama involving double reservations and whatnot, we got on the boat.
pretty fairy lights, with a cairo backdrop
The boat trip also involved dancing, mostly of the embarrassing kind, of which I did not partake. I did record it for posterity, though:

(the guy in the striped shirt dancing near the end of the video is our advisor, by the way. he's awesome.)

1 comment:

  1. that is soooo cool elise! i love the pictures! =)