Friday, October 22, 2010

a sketchy situation

Woke up today at 7:30 to shower and start studying, which actually kind of worked. I got stuff done, at least until I took my first break, which lasted a lot longer than it should have. I got to skype with my friend Maggie from home, though, so that was really nice.
Then I went downstairs to the courtyard to study more, and managed to get through my notes almost two times before we had to catch a cab to the Egyptian Museum. It was an interesting experience, because the driver was the first I'd met who willingly admitted that he didn't speak a lick of English, not in so many words of course. I was pretty proud of myself for making it work, and getting him to drop us off in the right place, although we did have to cross about six lanes of traffic to actually get to the museum. We also were there freakishly early, because Kim and I were a bit paranoid about being late again, after last time. It wasn't too long before the entire group showed up though, and we headed inside. The trip this time was much less frenetic, and much less boiling hot, because it wasn't nearly as crowded and we didn't have to run up and down any giant staircases. We looked at and learned about a ton of new and interesting Old Kingdom statues, including the only for-sure identified statue of Khufu (Cheops), the builder of the great pyramid at Giza. The statue is less than four inches tall. And it's adorable. The only remaining image of a pharaoh who is painted in history as an egotistical maniac is a teeny tiny ivory statue. If he'd really been as bad as Herodotus says he was, don't you think we'd have found more evidence?
Part of our assignment at the museum today, other than to follow Professor Ikram around like little ducklings* (or 'chickadees' as she sometimes calls us), was to describe a work of art in detail, as practice for our class paper. I chose a statue of King Raneferef from the 5th dynasty, which sadly is all broken up and the paint is almost all gone. That in itself isn't very interesting, but what happened to me when I was sketching the statue was. Perhaps the fact that what I was drawing was called a 'sketch' lends a certain tone to my encounter. An Egyptian man, who I hadn't noticed standing beside me, all of a sudden commented on my art. "Very beautiful," he said, "you are very good." I pretty much ignored him, and continued to draw. "You have chosen a wonderful piece," he said, "it is beautiful." At this point, I was wondering if he would just go away, but sadly, this was not the case. "You are from America," he stated, "you are touring?" I really shouldn't have responded, but I couldn't seem to help myself. "No," I said, "I live here. I live in Cairo." He was bit surprised, but quickly smoothed it over with, "Me too! I also live in Cairo. I am an accountant. What do you study?" "Egyptology." "What?" "Egyptology." "What?" "I study Egypt," I finally said, really kind of wanting him to go away. "Oh, oh, Egypt. Of course. I am an accountant," he repeated, as if I had thrown him off his script. "I play judo, and also swimming." "Hmmm," I said, trying to be noncommittal and also dismissive, if at all possible. Maybe I should have left then, but I was still trying to draw the stupid statue. He was silent for a while, then said, "Okay, okay. I must say. I am not married. I have not been married."
Around then, my friends showed up, ready to leave, I finished my sketch, and I said to him, "Very nice to meet you, goodbye." And to his credit, he left. Major props to him for that, at the very least. So, that was it. My very first 'marriage proposal' in Egypt. I'm so excited. I could tell he didn't really care about me though, I knew the relationship couldn't last. Relationships based on lies never do, and he started out with one, complimenting my drawing. I know the truth. This was my sketch, after all... (As you can see, that man was a big fat liar. Also, you can stop laughing now. Anytime.)
When I got home from the museum, I studied some more, then made the mistake of taking another break. It didn't really turn out to be a mistake, though. Quite the opposite. Instead of spending another five hours studying, I spent five hours hanging out with friends talking about whatever crossed our minds. And apparently, we are all huge nerds. I mean, I know I'm a huge nerd, but it's always nice to have company. We talked about Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Buffy&Angel, Lord of the Rings, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Anne McCaffrey, George RR Martin, Sherlock, The Room, fanfiction, Lost, Dr. Horrible, internet memes including drunk Jeff Goldblum and sad Keanu, and in short, it was the most epic conversation I've had in a long time. There were, of course, interludes of pizza and cupcakes (not for anyone but Peter, though), but pretty much, it was an amazing conversation that continued solidly for five hours.
One of the best quotes to come out of this monster conversation was this, as Peter attempted to explain why everything bad that happens to Harry Potter and his friends is Harry's own fault: "Harry Potter is the reason Cedric Diggory is a vampire." And I have to say, it was a pretty persuasive argument. Also, the description of the Twilight movies as "comedies with really good soundtracks" was wonderfully apt.
So, that was my day. Egyptian Museum (with marriage proposal), studying, and ultra-nerdiness. It was a pretty great day. Hopefully celebrating my birthday tomorrow on the Giza plateau running around after Professor Ikram again* will be just as fantastic.

*Do not in anyway misunderstand me: I love having the chance to follow Salima Ikram around like a baby duckling.


  1. Please tell any potential suitors that they must get your Dad's approval and that the bride price might be pretty high. Happy Birthday!!
    Love Dad

  2. lol!! Sorry the whole note on letting us know we could stop laughing....just made me laugh more. But i am very glad you were able to resist the charm of a rather well educated Egyptian. (accounting is not an easy subject believe you me. =P ) hope your doing great. =)