A Very Hungry Day
Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
18Trip End Dec 30, 2010
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Let me just rant for a little about food in Egypt. Since I have been to Egypt I have only eaten real Egyptian food about 3 times. Sadly, a testament to the United States in Egypt is all of the American restaurants in and outside of Cairo; to put it simply, Egyptians are obsessed with American(ized) food-- so far I've been to Chile's and South of the Border as well as Subway and McDonalds. The reason why I state this fact is sad is because real Egyptian food is so good! The other night one of our wonderful RAs, Joe from Bahrain, took us to a fantastic place which featured original Egyptian food. We ordered so much food that even before the main course came we were all stuffed! Here I will list some of the amazing food we tried (I do not think I can remember everything) with a short description from Lonely Planet. Baba ghanoog-- dip of roasted eggplant and tahini (sesame paste). Fool-- fava beans served with bread. Kushari-- a carbohydrate extravaganza of rice, macaroni, and lentils topped with fried onions and a spicy tomato sauce (ours was also served with a meatball). Ta'miya-- mashed, deep fried fava beans also known as falafel (we also tried one mixed with egg)
While at Khan al Kahlili today we were able to explore the market during iftar, or, while everyone was eating. It was a fantastic time to take pictures because there were hardly any people around to get in the way. The market was packed, but it is amazing for people watching, especially when the call for iftar came and you could hear the prayer from all of the mosques in the area. Hearing the call to prayer--or iftar-- is amazing because it is such a beautiful sound sang out all across the streets of the city (a video will be posted, so make sure to look through the pics). At the market I was amazed by the amount of Western people who blatantly disregard the conservative customs of Egypt. By no means must you be fully covered by a burka (long black robe that covers everything but the eyes) in Egypt, but if you do not keep covered here--covered being your knees and shoulders-- you are asking to have higher prices and to be whistled at if you are a woman. I find it mind blowing that people come to another culture without researching or finding out what is appropriate and what is not; even worse are the people who blatantly disregard Egypt's culture because they think their own culture is better. After visiting the market, my roommate and two Egyptians wandered around the streets of Cairo before heading back to the bus to come back to campus. While out, we also managed to stop by a supermarket where I bought some basic food staples in order to save some hard earned mu-lah while here in Egypt
Another fun fact about Cairo: it is honestly the city that never sleeps. Especially during Ramadan, where everything is closed during the day, the city thrives at night. My sleep schedule is going to be completely out-of-whack come Sunday when classes start and I have to be awake for my 8:30 class. And yes, you read correctly, my classes do not start on Monday, they start on Sunday. In Egypt the weekend is Friday and Saturday; therefore, we have class on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. No classes take place on Tuesday either, but that rule just goes for AUC so that we can have activities and time to do our work. I think I am going to like this new 4 day schedule it will give me more time to go out explore the city and other places around Cairo-- maybe I will actually do some work then too! I am very ready for classes to start, mainly because I want to understand Arabic. Hopefully, I will be able to pick up on the language a bit only being here for a semester; I wish I could stay next semester too, but due prior commitments at PC I will have to wait until a later time to return (planning ahead I know).
Thanks again to everyone for your supportive comments, hearing from people at home always makes my day.
(It has been called to my attention that my lowercase LF has been taken as "if", so from now on I will include my middle initial to avoid confusion. :)