Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Smoke your shisha like a man!"

Chaotic. Confusing. Charming. Chanting. Classes. Cruising. Carrot-free…Curses.
My muse of a younger sister, made me realize that I have been away from home for more than one month now.

She unknowingly made me think about how I have been blessed beyond belief with the ability to make friends with most anything or anyone, making the transition in Cairo much easier. If I were stuck in a room with a Venus flytrap for example I’m sure we would be having conversations about how it is not humane to play with one’s food and how it’s rather unladylike to sit around all day with one’s mouth hanging open.
Speaking of one’s mouth hanging open…the food in Cairo has been as satisfactory as I remember, although it’s been difficult at times to get all of the nice green produce that I desire. McDonalds, KFC, and Papa Johns are just a few of the fast food chains that deliver most any time of the day! Fortunately I have not succumbed to this temptation but instead have inhaled tragic amounts of shisha upon my arrival. My fantastic roommate, Melissa, has also surrendered to the great pipe and has bought a precious little shisha from Khan el Khalili (along with apple, plum, cherry, and energy drink flavored tobacco).
***Yes, we admit we have a problem but there could be worse things—such as NOT having a Sephora branch in Cairo.  ***
Life here has been nothing short of challenging for a number of reasons but I think I’m adapting quite well. The most annoying thing about living here is the male population, mostly the uneducated and lower class. In Gulu I experienced quite a bit of heckling but here it’s always constant. Men here seem to be a bit more brave and vulgar. Car horns honking, hissing and lip puckering, as well as other choice words that might include profanity are becoming a part of my daily routine. Although the worst incident by far was just a few days ago when two young boys, they couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, started throwing fist sized rocks at my roommate and I because we honestly did not have any spare change to give them!

I’ve also been able to see quite a few interesting things concerning post-Revolution issues such as the Israeli Embassy being thrown about like confetti and Egyptian students on campus tearing down the American flag from its pole in protest of the current AUC President, Lisa Anderson.
Even though this sounds pessimistic it is not meant to be. Many Egyptians here have been embarrassed and ashamed for the acts that have been occurring throughout Cairo. A driver last week informed me that it was completely unnecessary for what happened to the embassy. He stated, “What will happen to our embassy in Israel? I fear for it now and for the humility of the Egyptian people. I do not want to live in shame.” It’s because of statements like this remind me why I love Egypt.

Rarely will you be able to go out into the world and find a place so diverse and captivating. There are mansions and villas that align some of the finer streets in Cairo, but there are also tiny little shacks on the street beside of them where a family of five will live as happily as possible. Women wearing full niqab will stare at me in disdain or curiosity as I walk through the streets wearing a three quarter length top and a quite the long skirt, while they sit in a movie theater listening to curses and watching small forms of sexual acts—this I experienced last night after seeing the film Horrible Bosses, which was absolutely hilarious by the way…and probably quite inappropriate for women wearing niqab to be watching but who am I to judge? My mind is constantly brewing because of this insanely fascinating culture and the Egyptian way of life. Speaking of brewing, I could really use a chai tea latte. This kind is so tasty!
(I blame the religious studies deparment at UT but) this constant thinking, looking, and analyzing has become really quite exhausting which is why I must go for a little nap before “studying”.

Sweetest dreams wherever in the world you may be.

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