Citadel, CELTA, Crocodiles

Today, class, we will talk about three things:

1. Visiting the Citadel last weekend

2. Updates on the CELTA course

3. Return of the crocodiles.

(Just so you know, that isn’t how you teach a class. But for here, it is طيب – good.)

Last weekend, I met up with a friend from Morocco, Kate, and two of her friends and went to the Citadel, a very old fortress on a hill in eastern Cairo. Kate is participating in the AUC Presidential Interns Program, an amazing recent grad program that I applied to as well…and didn’t even get an interview for. I didn’t know Kate had gotten into the program, and assumed she was just studying at AUC. So when I met with her and her friends (also on the same program) and asked what she was doing, her response made me go, “Oh, good for you.” Internally I might have seethed a little. Not that I’m not happy for her (I am!) but it would have been so nice to been on that program. However, both Kate and her roommate/coworker Christine were also at AUC with me in January 2011…and I have to imagine AUC couldn’t have all the students on the PIP be evacuee students. C’est la vie. Although in some photos Christine took from her original time at AUC, apparently I’m in the background. SPOOKY! Moving on.

We met in Zamalek, where they live, and caught a cab to the Citadel. As stated, it rests on a hill overlooking the city. The walls of the Citadel are around 800 years old, and the famous Alabaster Mosque that sits on top is about 250 years old (that’s the same time as the US Civil War, everyone). The site was pretty crowded – but then again perhaps it wasn’t. Tourism has gone down so much in Egypt, most of the people there were Arab, with a few tour groups of Europeans. I don’t believe I saw any Americans there, apart from the four of us.

Come to Egypt, Americans! The sites you dream about, the pyramids, the Sphinx, the ruins and temples and mummies are all still here! Egyptians need you! Tangent over.

We went into the Alabaster Mosque, which is also called the Mohammed Ali (19th century ruler, not boxer) Mosque. It is done in the Ottoman style, which means it looks like a smaller version of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. But Kate, Christine, and I had to wear robes in order to go in. Being a woman in the Middle East can be looked at in two ways: a pain in the butt or you just get extra experiences.

But the mosque was beautiful, as most mosques are.

 

(They may look like Americans, they’re European, I promise.)

Very much the Blue Mosque, but less impressive.

Ah, lovely columns and walls and such.

Lovely robes for the ladies (but not all the ladies. I never understand the dynamics of this.)

The real reason people go to the Citadel is for the view. Which, despite Cairo being INCREDIBLY polluted, is quite a lovely view. It’s also quite breezy up on the hill, so you feel much cooler.

A very brown city, or, in Arabic, أسمر (asmr).

Al Azhar Park (Al Azhar is the foremost Muslim university in the world. And it has an awesome park)

Somewhere, in that hazy distance, are the pyramids.

We also went to another mosque on the complex, much smaller, but less people, so more peaceful. We caught a cab back to Zamalek, but he took us the long way…which is nice, since we got to see the pyramids a bit closer (Kate and I have never seen them), but not so nice since he asked about triple the price for the ride.

The CELTA is going well. It’s gotten more intense, since we are developing our own lesson plans now. But I’m getting by, haven’t run into any major hurdles. It is a lot of information and steps to remember…but real teaching won’t be like this, so hey, only 2.5 weeks left! My only issue is my health.

Which brings us to crocodiles! Blergh, I’m hoping they haven’t returned. Regardless, I’ve not been sleeping well. Occasionally, I get night terrors (or perhaps panic attacks, who knows, regardless I wake up with a big sense of dread, my heart racing and my breathing kicked up to 11). I’ve had them for the past two nights. Which super sucks, since the night before last, I went to a party with one of my roommates for British Council teachers (the apartment had a sweet balcony) and was out until 4am. Then I had two hours to sleep and only got 1.5 because of waking up with a sense of horror/dread.

Hoping for better sleep tonight…since I teach tomorrow for a whole hour! Crazy!

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