1. Cairo is kinda insane… like completely. We learned today that the traffic rules follow the “law of the forest,” which really means that going with the flow is more important than following street signs. This combined with the freedom to park pretty much anywhere and use honking as a type of second language makes for a city in which I would never ever want to drive. I had come to that decision pretty much 5 minutes into our ride from the airport, when we were driving 3 cars across on a two lane road. Added to this mix are the hundreds of pedestrians who cross pretty much whenever the hell they feel like it, and walk equally on the road and the sidewalk, meaning that cars pass you on one way roads with about six inches to spare. Thanks to the wildness of traffic the cars are rarely moving too fast and navigating your way through the streets isn’t as terrible as one might think; it just takes some getting used to and some quick decision making. I promise not to get hit by a car.
2. These are the pyramids:
This picture was taken from the balcony of my apartment, which my room has a door to. This means that I can see the pyramids like 25 feet away from where I sleep, which, might I add, is the swankiest place I have ever lived. I’m staying with 4 other guys in an apartment on the 15th floor of a building in the Dokki neighborhood, and this place has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 sitting rooms, a dining room that seats 8, a kitchen, and a balcony with a view of the pyramids, the Nile, the Cairo Tower,, and the Citadel. I’m still having trouble believing it. One of these days I am going to take a nice panoramic picture when it is nice and clear. The girls in the program live on the floor above us, in a penthouse that sleeps 12 and has an even better view, because they are above that dumb billboard. I seriously could not be happier with the place that I am living; it even has internet 🙂
3. It is apparently unseasonably cold for winter in Cairo at the moment. This means that I get slightly chilly if I go out without a jacket, like 40 degrees. People are very upset about the temperatures and some bought heaters for their rooms. It feels like the beginning of fall and I am loving it. The weather is supposed to start getting warmer in a few weeks, nut right now I am perfectly content with escaping the soul-freezing chill that is McDaniel in the winter.
4. Cairo is kinda crazy. Did i mention that? It’s also kinda really awesome. There have been no traces of violence or riots anywhere near where we have been, and people have walked up to us on the streets to say hello and welcome to Egypt. Let me repeat that, NO SIGNS OF VIOLENCE OR DANGER. While I don’t really understand a word of the colloquial dialect that is used in Egypt, every restaurant has been super helpful and I have already gained a fondness for Egyptian schwarma; a kind of delicious meat sandwich, and the various dips for pita bread that you can get anywhere. I will have to do a whole food post later, but for now just know that I am not surviving on sand. We go to restaurants and I get more falafel than I can possibly eat, along with bread and dip, and pay a total of 12 Egyptian pounds. That comes out to about 2 US dollars; a currency exchange that I am completely in favor of. Anyways, back to the craziness. There are stores with weird mixes of English and Arabic signs everywhere, and skinned pigs hanging from shop ceilings right next to hookah bars with people playing backgammon. Street cats roam freely through the cars double or triple parked along the roads and it is all kinda oddly wonderful. I’m sure part of that is being in the honeymoon phase of going abroad, but right now I’ll take it. I like this city and am so happy that I decided to come here.
5. This semester is gonna be awesome. We had our first day of orientation today and to wrap it up we had a list of the different program excursions and activities that we will be doing. While partying and going to bars/clubs isn’t really on the to-do list, we will be going to the Oasis at Siwa, and sand boarding down a dune, spending a few nights on a Nile cruise ship, going inside the pyramids, camping at the Black and White Desert, visiting Alexandria, and going on other adventures that I can’t remember right now. I can’t wait for it all.