Have mentioned the cats yet? Because I believe they deserve to be mentioned. The proliferous population of cats here in Cairo are at the forefront of my mind this afternoon as I remember back to this morning when I was awakened by two of them going at it in the alley behind my flat. I can’t figure out why people compare “girl fighting” to cat fights because from the sound of it one of those cats is dead or at the very least severely injured. Cleo wouldn’t last five minutes in this place.
Speaking of survival Arabic class started yesterday and my head is spinning. I am in the process of learning the alphabet and I am a little worried that the other kids will laugh at me if I mess it up Sunday in class (yeah, the work week ends on Thursday and starts on Sunday here. I don’t remember feeling this way since roughly 1st grade. I am excited to learn this language, but it is incredibly difficult. There are very few absolute rules and the entire language is sort of like a free for all as far as vowels go. I’ll be sure to keep you updated.
Yesterday we visited the Citadel located in Cairo and toured five beautiful, historical mosques in the area. Upkeep of these places is very poor and the pollution in the city is obviously affecting the integrity of these structures. Similiar situation at the the Egyptian Museum. The building is drafty and very few of the artifacts are behind glass or roped off. There are some rather stern signs ordering vistors not to touch, but that made me want to touch things even more. I promise I only touched one or two ancient things and then I felt an immense amount of guilt about the oils on my hands that are now eroding those artifacts. Note to self: follow all rules concerning ancient things…
Last night we also saw sufi dancing aka whirling dervishes. This was clearly a show for tourists, but traditionally the sufis work themselves into a trance while they twirl and this is a form of mediation and worship to God. All I know is that there was this guy in a skirt that spun around for 30 minutes without stopping and that the cymbal man was moving his hips in ways that surely would have gotten him kicked out of Taylor.
Tonight we are going to the opera. Madame Buttefly. I am wearing fishnet tights and no one can stop me. Everyone thinks I’m being scandalous, but I keep telling them I’m not and that “fashion tights” are in style. Maybe I’ll wear high heels and just push everyone right over the edge.
Tommorow we are headed to Alexandria for out first weekend adventure. Emily,our intern, gave us some rather ominous warnings that included: you probably won’t want to shower at the hotel we’re staying at, you shouldn’t leave anything at the hotel while we’re out, and you probably won’t sleep well. Why are we doing this again? I’ll tell you what I think upon my return.
This entry is officially dedicated to JTB2K4. Remember where we were a year ago? I was looking at the TJ and would like to announce that it was indeed 22 degrees below zero in Minnetonka. Could one weekend really have changed my life like that? Thanks for teaching me about community.