Bukra (Tomorrow) Begins a New Chapter

To my East Coast friends and family: Hunker down and have a nice Frankenstorm! Break out the flashlights and candles as needed.

I am going to try and keep this post short, for a change.

I accepted a job at a nursery in Maadi. I think it may only be temporary, because hopefully openings in schools for the new semester should be getting posted soon (and someone will love me enough to say yes), plus I have some other tongs in the fire, so to speak. But in the meantime, the nursery will do. My first day is tomorrow. I hope things go well!

This past weekend was Eid al-Adha, one of the most important holidays in Islam. It revolves around the story (if it sounds familiar, it’s because Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all come from the same root – and all believe in the same god.) of Abrahim (Ibrahim in the Quran) willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (Ishmael) for God, but God intervenes and Abrahim sacrifices a goat or sheep instead. The traditional celebration here is to slaughter a sheep (or cow or goat) and have a big festival with your family. In other words, LOTS of dead animals in Cairo this past weekend. Streets ran red and all that.

It is also a big time to travel (Eid al-Adha is a bit like Christmas break) in the Middle East. A number of Cairenes head to the Red Sea during this time. One of Melissa’s friends, Jumi, who is studying in Amman, came to visit her here. On Thursday I met up them and some of Jumi’s friends and we went on a felucca (sailboat) ride in Maadi on the Nile. Nice and serene. We had dinner at a restaurant along the Nile as well. Friday I met up with Jumi and Melissa and we had Yemeni food, which was an experience (no idea what we were doing) but incredibly delicious and I’ll be back again. We then headed to Melissa’s family’s place in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo. Her family home is lovely: three flats in a 60 year old building. We took naps, had a dance party, then got food in Zamalek, back in town (after a fruitless walk for koshari). I stayed the night with Melissa and Jumi, and Saturday we made breakfast, headed to Al Azhar Park, yelled at guys who are assholes (a majority of the young men here are assholes – as in 90%), had juice, then walked to Khan el Khalili, the most famous souk (bazaar/marketplace) in Cairo. The last time I was there was January 25, 2011. Jumi and Melissa shopped, I eventually got separated from them and sat on a curb. Amazingly, I was not pestered once. We then met up with some friends of Jumi’s who are studying in Cairo (actually at AMIDEAST, so I’d met them before – which reminds me, another story, another time) and went to Naguib Mafouz Cafe. Naguib Mafouz is an incredibly famous Egyptian writer, the first to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. But the restaurant is now a (very nice) tourist trap – and INCREDIBLY expensive. But it was good to sit at a table with 4 other Americans and chat.

And there’s the weekend!

Remind me I have to tell you about: Noam Chomsky, AMIDEAST visits, and apartment shenanigans.

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