Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cairo Post 3: Got Lost Tonight...then Breakfast, The Metro, Hedayat Institute, Lunch, Egyptian Phones, Dinner with Leo and Ana

So I started this post earlier today before we went out to dinner, but the story about coming back from dinner is what should really start this out. So myself, Jon Chu, Miranda and Mike M took a cab back from dinner, like everyone else, but once we got into Maadi we thought he was going the wrong way so we decided to hop out before we thought he was going to take us over a bridge. So we paid and started to walk. Turns out we were going the absolute wrong direction and we didn't find out until Miranda asked a lady where 72 St. was. So we doubled back, until we came to a side street and decided to turn left to see if that was the right direction. Of course that too was the wrong turn and after I initially caused a little confusion by asking for 77 St, I corrected myself and we were eventually led by these nice young man (probably my age) back past where we got out of the cab and down the last street before the bridge that we thought the cabbie was going to take us over...oops. So after walking past that spot for another 5 minutes our impromptu guide delivered us to our street, politely declining the 5 pounds (roughly a dollar, but a significant amount for a tip in our dealing so far) we had scrapped together to give him. Thank god for Middle Eastern hospitality.
Now back to my originally scheduled blog entry...
First things first, breakfast at the Pearl Hotel is served on the 7th floor where there is a rooftop area for us to eat. We didn't eat out there today but do expect some pictures of it because the views of Maadi from there are very good. The food this morning was good, although Lucie (the Professor of record) nearly forced me to try the dish that no one could figure out. Thankfully Gravy (Mike Armstrong) tried it for me and discovered it to be corn porridge. The other food we had were rolls, croissants, beans and hard boiled eggs. Of course I had to have a coffee, and even though it was a packaged and the cream was powdered, it did the trick.
This morning we were met at the hotel by Dr. Negaw Hedayat who led us to the local Metro station where Lucie kindly bought our tickets to go one stop to the Institute. About 10 minutes after arrival the students with arabic knowledge were whisked into a room to take a placement test. My God...the test was ridiculously hard, at least for us one year students. There were words I didn't recognize, grammer I hadn't seen...basically Arabic started to look like the bunch of squiggles, dots and lines that it was to me before I learned the alphabet and the few words that are stored in my memory banks. Hopefully they won't think I'm entirely stupid and place me where I need to be, I think they know what they are doing.
After the test, and the short orientation (and sitting in room 101 in the Hedayat Institute for what felt like ages) we walked about a mile to where we would have lunch...and we were thoroughly ripped off. I ordered a spicy chicken club that was supposed to be a triple deck was squished to practically the size of one slice of bread. To top that off, it wasn't that filling and the place charged us a service charge on top of mandatory tip, absolutely ridiculous. Of course the place we went for dinner, and the "special" place we went to after dinner also charged us those ridiculous charges. I think I am just going to eat by myself from now on, lol jk.
After lunch we went to procure Egyptian prepaid phones...and that was an ordeal in and of itself. I ended up getting a phone that was 10 pounds more than what the other kids got and then the guy seemed as though he didn't have change when it was time for us to pay. How does a place of business not have change, I was absolutely confused by that. But at the end of it all we got our phones, and if you would like to call me here, my number is 0199735899.
Once we had successfully gotten our phones and programmed our respective numbers in it (which really came in handy when Lucie got worried when we didn't show up right away after dinner) we set out to have dinner on the island in the middle of the Nile at the Marriot Hotel with Leo and Ana who had been studying in Cairo for the semester. The dinner was a little pricey, but it was worth it to hand out with Leo and Ana for a bit and get their perspectives on their times in Cairo. Leo went home tonight (its currently 1:21am here) but Ana will be around for another week and hopefully we will get more time with her.
Tomorrow will take us to Giza where I will finally see the pyramids that I have heard so much about for a good portion of my life. I am excited for the trip, but we have to get up a tad early so I am going to end this here.
Thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks for blogging, Diggs. Eat some koshari for me.

  2. idk why I'm just seeing this but you are very welcome and I will...eventually