Return to Zamalek

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Saturday, June 25, 2005

Hello! We made it safely on the train although I couldn't sleep very well. I was on the top bunk and thought I was going to fall out or the train would derail or just fall apart after some of the sounds I heard. Whew! Glad that is over. Plus, none of us would eat the food on the train so before leaving we asked the guide to take us to a grocery store so we could get food for dinner and breakfast and he ended up taking us to a convenience type store. Not exactly what we had in mind but we all loaded up on junk food for sure. Twinkies and ho-hos in Egypt are just as good as the ones in the US. The diet didn't start till I stepped on the platform in Cairo.

So we're back "home" in Zamalek, our little neighborhood. The hotel switched our rooms and we're all upset because some ppl have crappy rooms. For instance, I'm supposed to have a mini fridge and air conditioning but I don't have either one. Now, I hate to be the whiny american but c'mon! we are paying good money to have 17 rooms each night for the next 2 1/2 weeks. We are really spoiled with the whole no roommate concept. We even had our own cabins on the boat - crazy nice! So I asked the guy to fix my air conditioning and he kept telling me "good, good" and I would hold my hand up to the vent and say no so then he went to the window and opened it and said "good". I just rolled my eyes and tried to explain that I didn't want all the grossness outside coming in my room, bugs, smoke, pollution. Yuck. We didn't get very far in the conversation so I'll keep fighting it later. As for the fridge, who knows. I'll just pick my battles.

This morning when we got off the train we were immediately surronded by tourist cops. Almost one for each of us. It wasn't that anything was going on but it's just that they didn't have anything else to do. It was about 7 am and on a Saturday morning. One girl was wearing athletic shorts because we had been on a train for 12 plus hours and they were hassling her. Our bus didn't show up so we took cabs back to the hotel. That was the most fun! We fit all 17 of us plus a carry on type bag into 3 cabs. I think the cab drivers thought it was a race so they were all zipping through traffic and we kept passing each other. It was fun except the moments when you thought you were going to die. They don't even keep lanes marked on the roads here anymore because no one follows them. I haven't seen any instances of road rage either considering they all drive crazy.

This afternoon we are off to meet with a Bishop in the Coptic Christian churches. It should be an interesting lecture since I've finally caught up on the mandatory reading and now have a good foundation for some of the things we've been experiencing. Being that everyone else in the group is some type of Social Studies teacher and I'm not and just took 1 history class in college, I'm definatley at a disadvantage. I try to look and seem intelligent by just smiling and nodding a lot. Most of the time I'm thinking that I don't have a clue as to what they're talking about. Oh well, I'm sure I add something interesting to the group.

We should have the rest of tonight off and then we have two lectures on Islam tomorrow at the Fulbright institute. All sounds academic to me but then that is why I'm here. Although, I'm just ready to continue shopping. Fun! Even though the merchants are seriously pains it's kind of fun to mess with them and see what kind of deal you can get.

Well, have a good weekend and I'm off to find something to eat. It's actually a tough process since we're not in an area that has a whole lot of restaurants. I think I'll hit the grocery store later for some fruit (that I can peel) and some yogurt for dinners.

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