Today is the last Friday that I will be in Cairo.
However, I refuse to get all introspective yet; I’ll do that later.
Plus we are still doing fun activities, especially now that classes are over. To celebrate finishing my last (and actually only) paper this semester, I decided that it was time to bust out the sangria that I got in Spain and combine it with some fresh Cairo fruit.
Sometimes you need to just sit on the balcony and sip sangria as you look at the crazy city where you live.
To celebrate the end of classes we got to take a self named “party yacht” out on the Nile with some of our Egyptian friends fro pizza and ridiculous dancing. While much of this semester has been geared towards understanding different cultural norms and abiding by them, this day was a good chance to have some fun and maybe even show some of the Egyptians a little bit of how we have fun, chock-full of questionable American club music.
Let’s just say that we may have turned some heads as we passed some other boats. Unfortunately our plans to start a Nile piracy squad might have to be put on hold because we aren’t very good at sneaking up on other boats… Damn club music
This trip was a great way to have a last program hangout with some of our Egyptian friends, as well as meet some of the people that others in my program had gotten to know over the course of the semester.
On our cruise we happened to pass by the boat on which we took our first Nile cruise during orientation at the beginning of the semester; talk about things coming full circle. Oddly enough, I feel like I have been on more boats this semester than in like the past 5 years combined, and here I am in the middle of a country that is mostly desert. I guess it just goes to show you how important the Nile is to the people of Egypt.
For my last Friday here, we decided to go visit an area that we hadn’t yet seen: the Friday market. This is, as you may suspect, a kind of flea market that goes at full capacity on Friday mornings, and is really cool because you can get pretty much anything there, from a parakeet to a sink faucet. This market is mostly for Egyptians, unlike the touristy Khan al-Khalili, so the vendors aren’t nearly as aggressive about getting your attention and the prices are much better if you find something you like. It does get pretty crazy trying to work your way through streets crowded with stalls and cars and people carrying around armfuls of kittens, but it is definitely an experience I would recommend to a visitor, after they had initially gotten adjusted to the crowds. We started off in the animal part of the market, so there were people everywhere carrying around cages of pigeons, ducks, or chickens, as well as turtles, bunnies, cats, fish, and other song birds. The funniest part was probably when we passed through what seemed to be the puppy corner, and there was a man standing holding a very out of place tiny kitten, which he held up like he could convince us to get it as an impulse buy.
As I count down this last week, I know that Egypt has managed to make it back into international news because of the current protests and clashes, so I feel compelled to mention that they are in a fairly distant part of the city and that I am obviously not heading over there to check them out. I am leaving just a few days before the first free election that Egypt had had in the entire history of the nation, all the way back to the pharaohs, and I am hoping that they go well and the results don’t plunge the country into Revolution pt 2 right after I head out, en-sha-allah.