Friday, November 5, 2010

This is Egypt

My friends and I often find ourselves saying "T.I.E.," This is Egypt. But for those of you not here in Egypt, I thought it would be nice if I shared the kind of "this" that we have here in Egypt.
You frequently only get brought most of what you ordered in a restaurant, or have to ask a waiter a couple (or many) times to get your full order.
People (try to) translate things into English on menus and such, but often they just transliterate it (put the Arabic letters into English letters) so you're stuck wondering what things are and sometimes have no idea what you've ordered until it shows up on the table.
Cars don't slow down when you cross the street in front of them.
People walk along the side of the street, not on sidewalks.
Generally people don't bother getting out of their cars after an accident unless it's serious.
There are speed bumps on highways.
You have to haggle for everything or you will get ripped off.
You get anything done with enough baksheesh (tipping).
ANYTHING can be delivered to your front door. The liquor store delivers.
Everything will take "five minutes." Nothing takes five minutes.
A 2:00 start time for a class means the professor will show up promptly at 2:14. And often end the class early, too.
Egyptians are always amazed when you speak Arabic, even more amazed when you know about non-touristy things or neighborhoods of Cairo.
I have never once been asked for a single form of identification when going to a club, despite a drinking age of 18 for beer and wine and 21 for liquor.
Being white can get you a long way, or it can just get you harassed.
A headscarf can save you a lot of trouble.
I was literally wounded last night because my bus driver (of one of the nice, AUC busses) went about 40-50km/hr over a speed bump. I fell out of my seat, my computer and phone went flying (and my laptop would have broken if it weren't for the nice man sitting in front of me), I jammed my foot on the stairs in front of me and I have a huge and beautiful purple bruise just above my left knee from where my laptop came crashing down on me.
A "mop" is a squeegee with a rag on it. "Mopping" is dumping a bucket of water on the floor and pushing it around, leaving puddles on the floor.
You have to go up stairs to get to the elevator of the dorm. HAVE TO.
There are separate boys and girls sections of the dorm. They have guards preventing the wrong sex from entering. even for visiting. Not even a parent of the opposite sex can see their child's room.
The Nile is nasty.
The food doesn't agree with your stomach. It just doesn't.
Everyone skips class. Everyone. Someone was amazed yesterday when I told him I had skipped one class all semester and it was because I was on vacation.
Sheesha is everywhere. At all times of day. In every flavor.

This list is a small portion of what my life is like here. These things are common knowledge to me, yet most of them are probably at least somewhat foreign or even shocking to all y'all back home. I never really had the "culture shock" thing when I got here, but I think when I get back there will be some things that I will have to get re-adjusted to.

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