Monster update (sorry!)

Trip Start Jan 18, 2006
Trip End Jun 23, 2006

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Monday, April 17, 2006

OK, I've not updated in over a month. I'm really sorry. Let me prepare a monster update over the course of the next week or so to make up for it. I'm currently traveling, so what I'll do is create a rough sketch for the time being and fill it in as I go.

What I Did Since Oxford:

-March 7 - Returned to Cairo. Fretted for a week or two over the interview.

-March 17 - Received a couple weird e-mails from NU administrators. Called President Bienen who congratulated me on winning the TRUMAN SCHOLARSHIP.

-March 17-21 - Sat motionless in SHOCK.

-March 18 - My mother and sister arrive from the USA to commence their long visit. We hang out in Cairo and I show them the sights.

-March 20 - I come down with what I think is MALARIA. Unbearable headache, high fever, chills, everything. No fun.

-March 22 - Mom and Nina leave for a NILE CRUISE. I get tested and it turns out I don't, in fact, have malaria.

-March 25 - I take a train to Luxor to meet them. I miss my train and scramble to get on the last one for the night. With about LE 20 in baksheesh, I'm just able to do it. Still the whole trip cost me less than $10.

-March 26 - Rent a bike in Luxor and take it to the Valley of the Kings. It was really really hot. The Valley of the Kings was pretty badass, though. Meet up with my family at their hotel. We do the Luxor temple and then the Karnak Temple sound and light show. Sadly no pictures of eiter. Hang out in the hotel room, watch Lost and eat McDonald's.

-March 27 - I rent a motorcycle and tool around luxor. I go back to Karnak for a daytime visit. Then I cruise along the Nile well south of the city for a while, vaguely looking for a bridge. Failing that (sort of), I go back to return the motorcycle. The boy at the shop doesn't know where the guy with my card is so I get on the back of the bike with him and he takes me through Luxor looking for him. We zoom through the back alleys at 30km/hr and stop to pick up one of his buddies on the way. The three of us go tearing through the crowded narrow streets of the town, barely missing old hijabi women, carts piled high with vegetables and other motorists. We ultimately fail to find my card and return to have some tea back in Sindbad's house. They help me with my Arabic and invite me to a party. Really friendly guys.

March 28 - Return to Cairo. Wait for my mom to come back from Hurghada where she's bumming on the beach.

-April 1 - With mom back in Cairo, we do a field trip to some old old mosques, one of which only half-excavated.

-April 2 - Mom leaves for home. Sigh.

-April 6 - Friends Jim Wagner and Professor Carl Petry arrive in Cairo for a visit. We're all old friends from NU, so we have a great time over the next week. More later.

-April 12 - Jim and Carl leave Cairo. Sigh.

-April 13 - Alex, Caitlin, Ben and I load onto a bus to Jerusalem. We arrive some 16 hours later. Ugh. More on that later.

-April 14-16 - Kick it in Jerusalem for a few days, seeing the sights. Particularly crazy tourist season because it's both Passover and Easter. Our hostel has a kitchen, so Caitlin makes some fish with jerk seasoning and I make a huge batch of matzah brei (google it). We sit on the roof of our hostel in the Old City eating our food and looking at the church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock. Again, more on that later.

And that brings us to today. We're chilling in TA. Gonna buy some bikes and get ready to go to Haifa tomorrow. Amazing.

Much love to you all.

There was a bombing that killed 6 in Tel Aviv today at the old central bus station at around 1:30pm. I was not there and neither I nor any of my friends were hurt, though we were very close to the location only an hour or so before it happened. We didn't know the blast had occurred until well after the fact. We noticed a lot of ambulances, but everyone in TA went about their business as if nothing had happened. I found out from a friend (Ruthie) who called to check up on me when she heard. Thanks, Ruthie.
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