Friday, February 8, 2008

Back in Cairo, and Nothing Much Has Changed

Greetings from Egypt! For all of you that read my blog regularly, I want to let you know that I am back at the American University in Cairo for the spring 2008 semester. My blog will once again be updated regularly with new thoughts, observations, and commentary on everything Egyptian—politics, society, economics, and anything else that intrigues me. Of course, in a country like Egypt, it doesn’t take long to come up with something new to write about. Just walking across the street can be an adventure, registering for classes a nightmare, and convincing a cashier to take a large bill is nearly impossible. But I’ve already described all of these topics in previous blogs. I look forward to new, exciting material every week.

Returning to Cairo was much easier than my first trip here last August. The culture shock that I experienced was not an issue this time around, although not everything was easy. Setting up my apartment was a hassle, and readjusting to Cairo’s pollution and overcrowdedness took some time as well. But overall, the transition has gone relatively smoothly.

One thing was different. I journeyed across the Atlantic with my dad, and we traveled around Egypt for two weeks seeing all the sites from the Pyramids of Giza to Karnak Temple in Luxor to the Roman ruins of Alexandria. We had a great time together, and I was so glad he was able to make the trip. I’ll have pictures up soon.

If you want adventure, come to Cairo, because this place is like no other. My dad and I laughed a lot about this. Everyday brings something new. One night, after returning from Port Said, our taxi got a flat tire, and the driver jumped out of the car and repaired the thing while we were sitting inside. In Alexandria, a strong wind storm knocked a boat lose in the harbor, and it banged against the rocky shoreline for two days, smashing into smithereens with each crashing wave. Twice, restaurant waiters tried to rip us off and charge extra, and one time they succeeded despite my pleas in mixed Arabic and English. You win some, you lose some. Such is life in Egypt.

Classes started on Sunday, and I’m ready to get in the full swing of things. I like the schedule and routine of school, and I thrive in a structured academic setting. I look forward to a good semester, and I will see many of you again in four months time. Until then, I’ll be blogging.

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