I don’t really have any pictures between weekend adventures but these last few days have been pretty interesting so I figured I would say a little something before I come back with a bunch of tales from the desert. After class and a lot of sitting around my apartment doing homework on Sunday, I decided to go out with one of the language buddies and play soccer with some of his friends. I didn’t realize until that night that I was getting involved in a game played from 10 pm to midnight, but I was ready to go because I figured that even if I couldn’t hold a conversation with people, I could at least kick a ball at them. On the way to the field, I tried to pick up some soccer phrases from my friend and secretly hoped that they weren’t all so amazing that I looked like a drunk child attempting to play with them. Long story short, though I felt pretty out of shape from not doing anything athletic (other than climbing pyramids) in a while, I feel like I was a competitive player who held my own. My goalie told me that I was an awesome defender, though he might have just been being nice, and I managed to score a goal; helping my team to win the first game! While it is nice that soccer is pretty universal and that you can get by at the very least by yelling “Here!”, I did notice a little bit of a difference in the way that the Egyptians played. The biggest thing I noticed was that the guys very rarely used their bodies to play; nobody really chest trapped and I think I was the only person the entire game to head the ball, though that might have been because the ball was slightly flat and everyone else had previously learned their lesson. So I totally plan on playing again with the guys, even though my entire body has more or less been screaming at me every time I move; maybe I should avoid jumping straight into 2 hours of physical activity after months of being sedentary…
The next night I finally made the trip to a part of Cairo that I have been meaning to visit, the Khan al-Khalili market, where you can basically buy anything you could ever want as a gift or tacky souvenir. As this was my first time, this trip was more to see what the place had to offer, though I did buy one item that I had been looking to get my hands on, an Egyptian-style scarf called a keffiyah that almost everybody wears around here. I will take a picture of myself in it at some point. After we did some shopping, we went to a fancy shesha place that looked a little like an opium den, with piles of pillows around little round tables, and got some cool tea that you mixed cinnamon and other spices into right before drinking. I’m looking forward to later in the semester when I will head there more to start trying to round up all the gifts that I need to bring home.
This morning I went to the world famous Egyptian Museum for my Egyptian art class, because we had to pick objects to write catalog descriptions for. Though this was kinda an impromptu trip, we got a chance to see some of the most famous artifacts, like king Tut’s death mask and massive amounts of fancy gold jewelry. I finally got to see in person so many of the cool objects that I had always read about in books, and thanks to my hieroglyphs course, I was able to make out and translate some of the cartouches and common phrases on artifacts and statues. There is so much in the museum that it is kinda difficult to take it all in during one trip, so I am glad that I have at least two more visits there with my program, so I didn’t feel like I needed to go crazy and see everything today. It is the kind of place that I could really just wander around and look at all the cool stuff, but it is unfortunately semi disorganized and things are arranged somewhat haphazardly; I think it would be really amazing if everything were displayed properly, which might come within the next decade with the opening of a new museum.
That’s the beginning of this week, Wednesday night we have a calligraphy class, which I am sure I will be pretty bad at, and then early Thursday morning we leave on our program excursion to the Black and White Desert, where we get to really get out of the city and spend a night sleeping in tents. Some people don’t seem to be looking forward to this part, but the camper in me who hasn’t been very active as of late is really excited about what we are doing. Just a day and a half to go!