Saturday, June 27, 2009


So, last time I left off with the visit to Alex. That all happened in a day, so in reality I'm a week behind. A lot can happen in two weeks.

Two days later, I met with a friend of Andy's, who's name is Muhammed Ali. Yah, pretty cool. We did a language exchange and I really enjoyed it and felt that I learned a lot from him. I wish all the language exchanges I had were like that. We seem to work well together and I look forward to meeting with him more in the future.

Also, had two runins with the cops that week. First, got a knock on our door at 11:30 at night. I answered it to find our doorman and some guy I'd never seen before in my life on our doorstep. After I ushered them in, they started speaking to me in Arabic and I had no idea what they were saying so I went and got Andy. Turns out Mr. GuyINeverSawBefore claimed to be a cop, and even pulled out his laminated, photo copied ID to show us. He had no uniform, no badge, and no gun. If he WAS law enforcement, which I doubt, he was one of the least intimidating cops I have ever seen. Anyway, he asked us for our names (which we provided though refused to write) and then our passport information. When pressed for why, he said, "I'm a policemen." Andy asked for a specific reason and all he could get was "We're afraid for you." Hmmm... Sounds like the mafia to me. Anyway, Andy was a bit upset cause he was studying, and told the guy in no uncertain terms that if he wanted our info he could talk to the landlord. And then told him to get lost. And he did. After giving us both a dead fish handshake. Haha.

The other time we were walking home down the street we live on, and the random group of cops gathered together chatting decided to harass us. Mostly, they yelled at me for carrying a camera (in a case, turned off, and closed) past a government building. OK, guys, I'm not an idiot. I know you're not supposed to photograph military installations and stuff, especially in police states. They asked why we were on that street. We live here. We just kinda started walking and they left us alone. Egyptian cops... Boy...

Speaking of which, you see them do the darndest things with their guns. The army/law enforcement here is made up mostly of people "doing their time" in the armed forces, so they have little training and don't really care. Hence, you alternatively see soldiers/police sleeping on their guns (I saw one who'd borrowed his buddy's AK-47 and had it and his own propping up his shoulders as he slept), swing them absentmindedly around, or even pick their nose with them. It's amazing the mortality rate is as low as it is...

I've also had the opportunity to meet tons of new friends this week, though I may not get to see most of them again as they are leaving for the Summer and such. My roommate Andy has invited me to several get togethers, and I find I really like his friends. So now, they are my friends too. :-) At least we can see each other on facebook from time to time. Haha.

Oh, and I remembered another experience. Don't you ever tell me that tutoring English is a completely "safe" job. Cause it isn't. And I've got the story (and the scars) to prove it. Here's how it went down.

So, I was just doing my normal thing with Youjin, the Korean girl I tutor, and reading a book with her while helping out with particularly difficult vocabulary and such. And then, we got to this part about a wounded soldier struggling out onto the battlefield repeatedly to save his wounded comrades. And I felt my imagination running away with me. And I felt myself growing faint. And then I decided it would be a good idea to walk around and get the blood flowing a bit. (Note to self: this is a bad idea. Especially when the aimless, drunken wanderings get you into the vicinity of sharp-edged glass-covered tables. It's a MUCH better idea to lie down and elevate your feet on a comfortable couch and wait for it to pass.)

Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was having strange dreams and someone was shouting in Korean. As I came to, Mrs. Kwak was standing over me wondering if I was OK, and I assured her I would be, as I made my way to the couch and lay down for a few minutes. After that I was fine. Or so I thought.

i had noticed several injuries caused by the fall. I had a gash on my upper lip from hitting the edge of the table, a bruise on my chin, and my nose hurt like it had been smacked. My arm also had a nasty bruise, and at this point, I'm pretty sure I somehow managed to bruise my sternum. Later, I found a hole in the back of my head, which Andy and I promptly remedied by going to the neighboring pharmacy and buying antiseptic and antibiotics for it. Yah. So, don't do that. I'm lucky I didn't break my nose. I think I hit my chin, then my lip, then my nose, then flopped back and bashed my head into the glass table as I went down. I'm grateful I'm not more injured. Haha.

In other news, I'm moving. The landlord is remodelling our apartment, and much as I would have liked to stay, I have to leave. Andy is also going back to the states, and I will really miss him. He definitely makes the list of top 5 roommates ever. I have loved speaking with and learning from him, and will definitely try to keep in touch.

We got interviewed for a local TV station this past week, and saw the program this morning on public Egyptian TV. It was on foreigners in Egypt. It was kinda funny, cause they only showed Andy. I would submit that that was a good administrative decision, as his interview was MUCH better than mine, and he had a lot more experiences to share.

Literally half an hour after signing a lease for my new apartment, which I had found in Maadi so I could be closer to tutoring and not have to commute 5 days a week, Mrs. Kwak informed me that I would only be tutoring for 2 hours a week instead of 10. This really messed me up, cause I was planning on having a steady income for the next two months, to support an extended stay here. I've had to do some rethinking, but I think I will just go ahead with the plans I already made and stay till early September. Insh Allah. I hope something works out, cause else I will have little money left when I get back to the states.

Well, that's about all. I need to do some last minute packing and then off to the new apartment. Not sure how often I'll be able to update from there, as I don't know what the internet situation will be, but I'll see what I can do!

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