Monday, May 17, 2010

The Adventure Continues

So I am nigh unto approaching a whole month in Egypt. I guess this moves from the realm of tourist into...well, what am I know? Occasionally we will still do touristy things, such as loading up on 2 big buses and heading down to Alexandria. It is a really cool city-very different from Cairo in many ways, yet it still maintains its uniquely Egyptian flavor. I find myself busier than ever now, scarcely being able to meet all the demands on my time, and yet I am going to go see Robin Hood tonight. Not to mention the fact that I am here writing this post.

Things are going quite well though. Aside from being busy and from living on a very limited wardrobe, always eating out, not being to drink from the tap and a whole lot of other things, I really feel blessed to be here in Egypt. It is a fun place to be. There is always life and action. A couple of nights ago I found myself walking home at 2 at night and there was so much going on still. Shops were open, people were playing chess and backgammon, shisha was being smoked and a lot more. This wasn't just the youth mind you, there were old people too. It was insane how much happens here.

I've learned so much here and have some fun things to talk about, but I will save those for the next set of posts. I don't want to cumber this one up, not to mention I have a lot of homework to knock out. Hope things are well!

A faluka ride down the Nile

The kids loved us at the wedding party, see pic below

A dancing horse, ask me about it sometime, I have video evidence

I've finally seen the ocean! After the hot streets of Cairo, this was nice

A small group of us

Their tradition to play hackey-sack where ever we go, if you click on the picture to zoom in, see if you can read what the ball says

Check my facebook album for more pictures!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Daily Schedule

So, every day of the week I have class at 8:00 in the morning. I have anywhere from 1-3 classes a day, each of which last for 2 hours. Then we have a recommended 2 hours of news paper reading each day, but it usually takes 3 or more. Additionally we are required to speak 2 hours to a native Egyptian, but time is of little importance to them and want was intended to be 2 hours can quickly turn into twice that. Don't forget my nap which lasts from anywhere to 20 minutes to an hour. So, worst case scenario, we are looking at a day that has 13 hours already scheduled. The average day, probably around 10 hours. So much for fun and personal time right? Well, I am going to try and find ways to combine these into one. Like going to mosques and asking people about Islam, or going to cathedrals and asking people about Christianity or sitting in the Metro and asking people for help and then turning that into a conversation. We also have a club membership that has fields for all sorts of sports and places for food and relaxation and swimming. Dil, our supervisor, wants us to spend time there too. So, what am I doing in Cairo, Egypt? That!

The Prince and the Pauper

So I guess I owe an update from these past days! So much has happened since our trip last Monday to the pyramids. Since then we have gone to the Coptic Christian area of Cairo. These guys have been in Egypt since well before the Muslims, they are one of the oldest sects of Christianity. Their architecture was superb! So pretty. We've explored random areas of downtown. We've been rained on. We walked through shopping districts. We've been bought dinner by poor Arabs. We've signed a contract for housing and then renegotiated said contract. We've made Arab friends. We've seen police abuse. We've attended church on Friday. However, one of the most insane things was Friday night.

Thanks to our friend Muhammad, we went to the Egyptian version of the Oscars. It was a quick affair, not too long. It was fun though, really quite entertaining. After, we all went outside to mingle. We quickly stole the spotlight. All these famous directors and such from this film festival had nothing over us. The girls in our group especially stole the competition. Everyone wanted pictures with them, some took several. Others wanted pictures with us guys too, but they mostly were interested in the girls. Rachel especially was loving all the attention. It was so funny watching them turn from average students from a low to mid social status in America to the cream of the crop in Egyptian society. I was asked a few times if I was a director of some sort. haha, nope, just a poor student.

School has started. We are on our third day now. I have one of the same teachers now that I had at BYU. The other seems cool enough so far. Classes are long and I have had to take a nap at some point each day because what we do is so draining. I'll devote a whole post to our schedule, just so this one isn't so cluttered.

We are making friends quickly. Ryan Coles, the one with the sunglasses at the top of this page is great at making friends and I am great at taking advantage of that. We have met some incredible people! The Arabs are so nice, it is so sad to see so many misconceptions rampant among some many Americans concerning these people. They would give us the shirt off their back if we asked it, yet we think all Arabs hate America. How wrong we are. I have been told several times that America is the greatest country. I think we have a lot to learn as a society before we achieve that.

All of these pictures are of Coptic Cairo, in other words, they are of Arab Christians who generally live in peace with their Muslim counterparts. These people and their churches are probably the oldest surviving sect of Christianity.