Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Update #24: Pharaonic Adventures!

With Germeen @ Sphinx & Pyramids

New Year's Eve. BAM. At promptly midnight Nairobi time, I was loading up my two carry-on sized luggage items into the school van amidst the fireworks display of our neighbors (apparently New Year's Eve is the only time fireworks are legal). Cassie, Tyson and I were on our way to the airport to catch a plane to Cairo!

After a pushy flight attendant and a sleepless, dreamlike flight, we were riding in a tiny van with Germeen and her brother. No problem at all with the visas, praise God. The only problem: US$66 missing from my checked bag. Sigh. Oh well. I guess the daughter of a security personnel man is getting a nice Christmas gift.

...I'm struggling to squeeze two weeks of touring Egypt into one email. Oofta.

Egypt: Land of the Pharaohs. And lots of people. And Arabic. And men. And dust. And smoking.

Ooo, and the food; yum. Koshary, ful, aish, fateer, falafel...who knows if those are spelled correctly; they tasted amazing. Truth be told, if I had encountered koshary at a potluck or in a cafeteria line, I'd have steered clear. A conglomerate of spaghetti, macaroni, garbanzo beans, fried onions, tomato paste, and lentils (with a squirt or two of garlic lemon sauce), koshary is a frighteningly delicious
dish that I never turned down. Cassie, Tyson, and I also splurged a few times. Egypt boasts American restaurants not found in Kenya...a pizza from Pizza Hut, milkshakes &
fries from McDonalds, and minibons from CinnaBon made Egypt even more tasteful.

The people! I must tell about the people. Most men like to flirt with the foreigners, and even more of them are incessantly smoking, whether it be from a cigarette or a water pipe (strangest thing I'd ever seen). Many of them have a darkened callous of sorts in the middle of their foreheads from devoted prayers with forehead to the floor. Nearly all of the women wore a head scarf, but their clothing styles were very much the same as those in the U.S.

The only guy that received mutual flirtation
Back to the flirtatious men...I have never before felt so reduced to blonde hair and genitalia.
"Welcom to Ezhypt!"
"Hola Senoritas!"
"(something in Arabic with a wink)"
"(something in Arabic with raised eyebrows)"
"Come, come take a seat and have a drink! No drugs! No drugs."
"Smile, Baby Spice." (my personal favorite)

If my call were at Nile Union Academy instead of MAA, I believe I'd find a burka, gloves, and sunglasses to disguise my blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned self.

My foot! In the Mediterranean!
In a nutshell: I loved my time in Egypt. A visit to the pyramids & sphinx, a belly-dancing light fest riverboat trip down the Nile, the temples of Luxor and Aswan, sunsets on the Nile, learning to dance the merengue from a Colombian, bowling in a non-smoking alley, the library in Alexandria, a castle, dipping my toes in the Mediterranean Sea, Roman amphitheaters and catacombs, train trips, rides on a sardine-packed metro, and microbuses. While I had a wonderful time, I'm glad to be back in Kenya, with my own dresser, English-speakers, (slightly) fewer people, and familiar surroundings. Funny how leaving home away from home makes it seem sweeter.

MAA/NUA SMerfs gearing up
for some ice skating
One of my favorite moments of the past two weeks: Chilling with the NUA crew on our last night in Cairo. The Kenyan SMs and Egyptian SMs took to the malls - ice skating, McDonalds-ing, and mechanical bull riding. It was a step back to see the big picture: volunteers from everywhere, to everywhere, with the same good-news goal in mind. At church I was greeted with "Happy Sabbath" as well as "Sab Said" (sp?).
Sunset on the Nile
I was reminded that we really are a very small piece of the puzzle, a part of a worldwide family...

Well, I digress. There were so many more adventures and experiences, but they'll have to wait until we can sit down to a cup of tea. Speaking of tea, that reminds me of another story...but that will wait, too.

Don't think I've forgotten about my request for your holiday stories! Assignment due within two days.

Lots of love! (the sisterly kind. Don't get any marriage proposals in mind...)

1 comment:

Violetta said...

Sounds great!
Happy for you,