Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ancient Ruins

Yesterday, 26 April, I was able to view one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. After seeing so many movies about the pyramids, I finally went their in real life. What an experience! It was incredible thinking what man is capable of doing! What beautiful creations! I learned a lot while there. It was an incredible experience being in the presence of these massive monuments to the Pharaohonic might. Cairo is gradually spreading so far as to swallow these landmarks, the most striking contrast is the Pizza Hut that is no more than a 3 minute walk from the Sphinx. We were continually warned about peddlers wanting to cajole or guilt us into buying souvenirs. There were several, but not as many as I anticipated. Anyone who has the chance should go and see the pyramids. After seeing the pyramids, we went home and opened the day for whatever wanted. I took a 3 hour nap :( Then we went out with the simsar (kind of like a real estate agent) and we settled on an apartment in which we can live! More to come on this later!!

PS The beautiful thing about the Arabic language is the root system. Almost every word is derived from 3 root letters and uses patterns to form words with similar meanings as the root system. For example, kataba means "to write" and maktaba means library. So I learned in a very real way how roots are connected today. The root letters s-h-l connote an idea of making easy or being easy. Thus, the word ishaal means...well...I'll let Google Translate inform you and you can decide how it's related to the root letters that connote something easy :)

Additionally, I will be trying to throw most of my favorite photos on facebook, I hope you can access these via my blog.

The illustrious Sphinx

I love the ancient feel this photo has

Our group

The Caravan

Needs no explanation

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Arabic Republic of Egypt

 A view from my hotel
I have now officially spent a whole day in Cairo Egypt. Wow! What a day it was indeed! We arose early and had breakfast in the hotel (we get to go search for apartments tomorrow, so until then we'll be in a hotel). Then we went on a get-to-know-Cairo trip. Our teachers stood at specific checkpoints. We traveled through the city in order to become more familiarized with it. When we had a second to spare I would try and strike up an Arabic conversation. I also bought Harry Potter 2 in Arabic, that will go with my future additions of Lord of the Rings and others. After the get-to-know-Cairo adventure, our teacher let us loose to explore the city for the following 6 hours. We walked around the opera house that was in a nice area with pretty gardens. Once we had thought we saw enough, we went to walk home. We didn't make it. I stopped to try and read a sign next to some pretty gardens. While myself and 4 others of our group of 57 were trying to interpret this sign, some guy said queried if we could understand this sign. Turns out this small gesture influenced the next several hours of our day, and hopefully several more hours to come. Turns out he is a popular event planner. He knows all the famous people and conveniently enough happens to be planning the next Andrea Boccili concert and volunteered to get us in for free as well as several other things. He seemed legit and said he would hook us up. We will see if he can deliver. Then we ate en route to the house, another good meal. After going home we rested briefly and then had a few more things to take care of.

I don't plan on describing every day in this much detail, but for special occasions I think I will. It was a fun day.
 A view from the street of downtown Cairo
The beautiful Nile (really quite polluted)
Sorry I didn't rotate it, some of us before crossing the bridge to Zamalek Island
The Cairo Opera House

Plenty more to blog about and more pictures to post, I haven't decided the best way to do this, but we'll figure it out as we go. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's the final countdown!!!

Not a very creative title, sorry. But let it be heard that I will be in Egypt on Friday. Today is Tuesday, you do the math. Can you believe this?!? I am feeling slightly overwhelmed by what I need to do before then. I still need to get a shot, pack my bags for the trip, pack and clean my apartment and say my goodbyes. Not to mention the incredible amount of culture shock that I am going to experience. The food, people, traffic, litter, and etc. Additionally, I got a typhoid shot. My arm is a little sore, life will go on. Another semester has come and gone. I can't believe that time keeps going faster and faster. A years ago when my crazy adventure in Arabic started I learned that I was going to be going to the Middle East. A year was a long ways away. I didn't believe it was actually coming. No, I can look at the Egyptian weekday forecast and see the weather that I will be experiencing there (for the record, Saturday will be high of 86 and mostly sunny, Sunday will be 89 and mostly sunny again). As you can tell, HOT!! Regardless, I AM EXCITED!! We watched the Mummy last, and aside from being excited about understanding the Arabic in it, I was flabbergasted to think that I will be visiting these sights. WEIRD!
Well, wish me luck, chances are the next post will be coming from Egypt. I hope to have some sweet shots!