I apologize for not posting in the last 3 days since my arrival in Cairo. A number of not-that-great reasons are behind it, but right now, I have Mummy’s Tummy. Or, as we like to call it in the States in regards to Mexico, Montezuma’s Revenge. (Here it is also known as Pharaoh’s Revenge, Nile Piles, and the Cairo Two-Step) Meaning I am out of commission for doing anything tonight, in hopes of being well enough for tomorrow, which is very important.
Why? Because tomorrow I begin my CELTA course. The whole reason I’m here when I am, so yes, need to be well for tomorrow. But let’s talk about from touchdown on, and then get back to this sad, icky point.
When I landed at the airport on September 12, I have been traveling for 17+ hours, was tired, smelly, disoriented and already wondering, “What in the world am I doing?” One step at a time is what. I got my visa, exchanged some cash, went through customs (“Where are you from?” “America.” “Go right through then.”), got my bags (they all arrived safely!), find the cab driver picking me up (arranged before hand), and head off into Cairo.
My goodness, I had forgotten how much sand is a part of life here. The buildings are sand-colored. The air is sand-colored. Even the clothes and people at times are sand-colored. And of course, there is sand. Everywhere. It doesn’t matter that Cairo is a sprawling metropolis, sand and dirt and dust are a part of the environment, a part of existence. If you don’t like being dirty, or having your surroundings be dirty, Cairo is not your dream city.
We eventually, after getting lost a bit, arrive at my new home in Agouza. Matt, my British flatmate, was there to let me in. We chat a bit as I unpack (I promise, pictures of my room and apartment will follow). Alex, my Italian flatmate, gets home with his girlfriend, who is a British Egyptian and is returning the next day to England, where Alex will follow her in a month and we’ll get a new flatmate. Some other friends of Alex’s come over, and Matt kindly made me dinner, since obviously, I’ve nothing in the fridge. We watch Hunger Games, people order food, and as is the general way in Cairo, stay until 1 am. I’m beat at that point (beaten with a stick and a golf club, really), and crash in bed.
Next morning, I get up super early: 7:45 (which is 1:45 am on the East Coast), planning to be productive. Instead, after 2 hours, I get the shakes and have to take a nap. I wake up early afternoon and decide I REALLY need to start my day, if only to get food. I walk from Agouza to Zamalek, my would-have-been old neighborhood, if the first time in Cairo worked. I walked to the Barclays, the bank I’ll be semi-using in Cairo, and walked to Alfa Market, a large supermarket. I bought my groceries, then caught a cab back – and was able to direct him in Arabic back to my apartment. Considering I didn’t have a smartphone telling how to get there or back, pretty impressive.
I made my first dinner that night, just a simply stir-fry of rice noodles, frozen veggies, and chow mein sauce.
The next day (Friday, for those keeping track), was the first day of the weekend. Friday and Saturday are weekends here, by the way. I had planned on going to Carrefour, the French hypermarket (think Target or Walmart) with some branches in Cairo, to pick up some more goods. Instead, while trying to fix my web camera, I feel asleep. For 7 hours, and woke up around 1 am. Nutso. Went back to sleep, which brings me to….
Today! Got up. Made breakfast. Left for Carrefour, which is a good 20 minute drive away in Maadi, the expat neighborhood. Get into a taxi, realize 5 minutes into it, “I need a restroom, now.” Tell the driver this, he pulls over and says we have a flat…which we do. I can’t wait, so I get out and start walking to the Four Seasons, which I saw we had passed. I can’t make it that far, I go into an office building instead. Find a different taxi, continue my trip. My taxi driver doesn’t know where Carrefour is and has to pull over multiple times to ask for directions. We eventually get there, I get sick again, then go shopping, then get my phone taken care of, then go and buy Antinal – the Egyptian version of Cipro. Get in a taxi, get back to the apartment, am overcharge by the driver (whatever).
And that brings me here. Chilling as I wait for the medicine to do its job.
I should mention we have two cats in the apartment, Stella, a SUPER FAT tabby name after the Egyptian beer, and Bob, a white albino cat with beautiful blue eyes. They love to hang out in my room – and fight. And run around. And in general be a very cute nuisance. Pictures of them soon, I promise.
I do have more to say, but I’m getting too tired to write more. But tomorrow is CELTA – and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it after my first day.
Wish me luck in my health and luck in my program!