Mango Juice might be my new favorite beverage. Since Dr. Pepper isn't distributing in Egypt yet, I'm having to drink other things. Milk comes in a box and doesn't need to be refrigerated, which creeps me out, so juice it is! I had a box of mango juice installed in my fridge when I arrived, and this afternoon we stopped as a group at a juice stand down the road where they literally blend up mango with a little water and serve it up to you in a real glass, right there on the road! Without the water, it definitely would have been a soft solid mass in the cup. It was FANTASTIC. The girl who talked to us about Egypt last week was right--you've never tasted a mango until you've come here. So good.
We have visited some of our neighborhood (Ghamra) and we've found our way to the place to print photos and the suuk where they sell fruits and vegetables, all perfectly fresh and in season, literally trucked in early in the morning from the delta region and sold during the day. crazy!
The pollution here is visible, which is a little disturbing, and at the moment it's quite warm. It's probably about 90+ degrees, but the humidity is reasonable so it's quite manageable to be outside. Our flats all have air conditioning, so being in my apartment is pretty cool, literally and figuratively!
I have a bit of a head cold, which is frustrating, but hopefully it will clear up soon and I won't be begging for cough drops or kleenex anymore!!
Let's see...is there anything else to say? Today we visited with the General Secretary of the Synod of the Nile Schools, who also is (or was?) the President of the Protestant Churches in Egypt, and something else too. He had a lot of titles. He had interesting things to say about politics and Islam and Christianity, so that was intriguing. Basically, Christians want Mubarak to stay because he doesn't oppress Christians. The other candidates would all, supposedly, make Egypt an Islamic state, including Shari'a law, which would make it exremely difficult to be a Christian here. Here's hoping that doesn't happen! While I'm not sure that Mubarak is the best choice, at least with him we'll be allowed to stay! The elections are September 7, just a week away. Good times!
While visiting with Mr. school-president man (whose name completely escapes me at this moment) we also had a chance to experience some Middle Eastern hospitality. All 9 of us were invited to take a seat in his office, and were offered a variety of beverages. We all opted for lemonade, which was pretty good. He also answered lots of questions we had, which was great. We were probably there for about 45 minutes with him!
Well, many of you have heard already, but Dawson Hall here offers some extremely nice accomodations, especially when you consider where some of our fellow YAVs are living in other countries (with host families, in the desert, etc). Each flat has a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. My living room is essentially the size of a living room and dining room. It's furnished with a couch, chair, coffee table, small kitchen table (in the "dining room") and two chairs, bed, dresser, closet, bathroom drawers (the plastic kind that I love--a three-drawer unit), and kitchen utensils and dishes. I am glad that I brought my measuring cups and spoons, though. Our stoves are butagas, which means we turn on the tank, then light a match, then turn on the burner and light it. This morning I thought I might burn my hair so I freaked and turned it off on accident the first time, but I succeeded on my second try and managed to boil the kettle for some tea. Thank goodness! I'm so glad I packed peppermint tea because it's just what my nose and throat (not to mention my taste buds) needed this morning.
I think that's about enough for now. Tonight we are headed out for dinner at a restaurant on or near the Nile, which is very exciting. (Last night we were welcomed with pizza and ice cream, which was fantastic after 15 hours of travelling!!) Tomorrow afternoon we begin language lessons! Send us some happy thoughts and prayers, because Arabic is quite challenging and supposedly our teachers are very demanding. :-)
I have posted pictures of Dawson Hall on my photo site, the link to which is to the left there. Enjoy!