Na'am, Na'am, Na'am!
Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
18Trip End Dec 30, 2010
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Where I stayed
AUC on Campus Dorms
Friday we were able to have a lazy morning around campus, so I decided to do basic things like unpack my clothes, write a basic schedule, and organize some things. Mid morning I met some girls for a late breakfast/early lunch at our local dining option. Currently, until the semester officially starts, there is only one dining option, Tabasco, and a convenience store open on campus. To throw another ringer into the mix, this is the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting during the day for Muslims. Therefore, most restaurants close during the day and then open when the fast can be broken at sunset. Usually, it would stink having such a lack of dining options, but it is really fascinating being able to see Muslim culture and traditions firsthand
I am also relatively certain that no one who is really uptight about time can survive in Egypt. As one of our RAs said: "there are 2 times, normal time, which is on time, and Egyptian time, which is whenever you want it to be." This concept makes for more confusion and requires a lot of patience, but it also provides opportunities to meet people who are also waiting with you. I have found the other study abroad kids at AUC are for the most part pretty awesome; they seem to be a mixture of cool, adventurous, and nerdy all at the same time-- perfect, right? Many of the regular kids, mostly Egyptians, have not moved in yet, but the ones I have met seem to be nice. There is a lot of talk about segregation at AUC between study abroad students and Egyptian students, but hopefully we can overcome that more this year. However, I have found that our RAs are fantastic and are pretty much willing to do whatever it takes to help out the poor foreign kids that cannot speak any Arabic, from waiting with us for buses, to wrangling cabs for us at 3 am. My Arabic vocabulary has increased leaps and bounds from what it was-- I now know about four words and one phrase. The English equivalents of these words are: thank you, no, hello, my name is, and my favorite, yes-- na'am.
Back to Friday, in the afternoon a group of us traveled to Rehab, a town about 15 minutes away from campus where we went to a shopping market to get general stuff like hand soap and laundry detergent; then we walked to a phone store and bought cheap Egyptian cell phones so that we can get into contact with each other
Saturday was really chill because we just did a few things for orientation and then were able to rest most of the day until we met up at The Meeting Place. The Meeting Place is a mall type structure which is a 20 min walk from campus and really the only thing within sight. For dinner I tried the famous Egyptian pigeon. Pigeon may sound like a weird meal, but they eat it nearly everywhere else in the world, and from what I heard it was brought to NY in order to eat. Our pigeon was served with rice and potatoes and everything was very good, but I am pretty sure our pigeons were anorexic, or maybe pigeons just do not have a lot of meat in general (probably the second guess). We were able to prevent being ripped off at the restaurant after they claimed prices were higher during Ramadan-- aka you are American and we are going to try to slip one over on you. Some wonderful math skills and a bit of Arabic later we were able to go downstairs and chill at an outdoor place and smoke sheesha. On Saturday I shared mint sheesha and I think it may be my favorite because it is so fresh. One of the girls and I have decided that perhaps one day we will have them show us how sheesha works exactly because they are always coming around and working on them to make them better. Perhaps before I leave, I will be able to explain the art of the sheesha.
Well, classes start in about a week so I definitely will not be updating as often then, but I will try to keep working on it until then, and even then too. Keep checking back, reading, and commenting. I love seeing what everyone thinks.