Sunday, September 5, 2010

Continued adventures in Misr

I'm trying to break up the last week into several posts so none of them is too long, but some stuff doesn't fit into dates so I'm just gonna talk about it here. On the first day of orientation (the 28th), everyone got up early to go sign in and get our welcome packets and get on with orientation. I clearly should've slept in, doing it the next day would've been much smarter. I got my welcome packet (and bag, and telephone book, and yo-yo, etc [very strange set of stuff]) and then hurried off to the very far end of campus where I was supposed to get my ID. Hurried up and waited. An hour and a half. You would think that since we had to send in passport photos with our applications that they would put those on our IDs. No, that would be efficient, and this place is anything but. I did discover that Tulane would pay for my Survival Arabic class (a 6-day, 20 hour course during orientation week), so I got in on that (it's $350, so I wasn't going to take it otherwise). It was a really fun class and I learned a lot of the differences between the Arabic I've been learning and the Egyptian dialect, making it much easier to communicate with people.

I discovered that the Cinnabon and the food court are finally open!! The problem with getting here more than a week before classes start is that none of the food places was open. The first day I ended up eating almost nothing because I couldn't find any food. On Friday I found out that there was one food place on campus that was open, plus quick mart (which is insanely expensive), so I had been eating there for every meal since then, but today I discovered that a bunch of the other food places are now open and so I had a Cinnabon for breakfast, it was amazing.

I went to an event called "Bedouin Night Sohour" this day, it was awesome. There were so many different things that happened that I'm sure I'll forget something, but I'll try. First we got there and sat down on these cushions on the ground that were actually really comfortable. Then we sat. and we didn't really know what to expect. Then some random guys came around with a lion cub (it was a big cub, but still a cub) for everyone to take pictures with. They then, of course, asked everyone to pay for their picture (they would print out a professional one for you) I said no, but my picture actually had come out rather nice. Then they came around for drink and sheesha orders. I had a strawberry juice that tasted like someone just put a pint of strawberries in a blender. it even had chunks of strawberry. It was delicious. No sheesha for me, though. I want to try some but I didn't want to order my own. Then it was dinner. Chicken and rice (well seasoned, as always) and kofka (ground beef thing, I don't know how else to describe it). Then no one really knew what was gonna happen next until someone took the mic and announced that there would be a show: dancers and a dancing horse. The dancers were... interesting (see pictures). There were people on stilts and short little costumed people and it was all very strange. and there were some more traditional looking dancers with sticks, and then a provocatively dressed woman who all the guys with sticks danced around... I have no idea. Then there was the dancing horse. It was, as you might think, a horse that danced. I guess for a horse it was a pretty good dancer, but I really wasn't all that impressed. After that we thought the night was over. It was almost 1. But no. We then had basically a dance party that lasted like an hour and a half. it was interesting to have a dance party with no alcohol and no touching. Very VERY different from Tulane. then we finally went home, got back around 3AM and I had to be up by 10 for my Arabic class, earlier if I wanted to get anything done (I didn't get anything done before class).

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