Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Egypt, please adopt me!

...even if I'm pale!

Hello from Cairo!

I’ve been here soaking in tahini and shwarma through my pores for the last week, thanks to the generous hospitality of my friend Ehab and his lovely family. I can’t believe how much we’ve done in eight days: toured every place in this town that will take my money (and there are a lot of them!) wandered the streets, smoked the classic water pipe late at night in sidewalk cafes, cruised the Nile, and a real highlight for me: attending a family wedding AND even the bachelorette party! Ehab’s family has been so much fun—I think spending time with them has been my favorite part of Cairo!

There are of course, too many pictures, (yes, I even have one of the Pyramids exactly as a camel walked past!) so I’ll post them at a later date. Cairo has been full of surprises—the level of development is astounding—shopping malls bigger than anything in my hometown, and beautifully landscaped medians and public spaces. And I’ve seen so many wonders, such as broccoli, delivery pizza, strawberries, McDonalds, and even STARBUCKS that have been completely absent in my last two years in Cameroon! (I always try to read the Arabic script as we pass in the streets, or are stuck in Cairo traffic. Imagine my surprise as I slowly sound out “staaar boooooks” for the first time, only to look over a few feet and see the English version written there, in trademark green flourescent lights!) Well, all that makes me feel like I’m back in America! Yet at the same time I’m reminded that I’m in a foreign place by the vast majority of women sporting the hejab, or veil, and the magnificent omnipresent mosques and the calls to prayer which reverberate throughout the city. Oh yes, and every time I open my mouth to attempt my poor, I’m-a-tourist-and-really-can't-make-those-required-gutteral-sounds Arabic!

Ehab’s family reminds me that I need to come back to see more, and let me tell you, it is not a hard sell! But for now, I’m wrapping up, and preparing to hop on a plane to continue on to Ethiopia tonight, where I’ll meet up with another friend and bop around for three more weeks. Hopefully, insha allah, more to come from me soon! Love to you all!