Saturday, September 10, 2005

adventures in uploading

It took several tries on our severely-slower-than-usual internet connection, but I have posted new photos, including the attempts to take pics of the pyramids from a moving bus, pics of last night's visit to al-azhar park, photos of some of the other YAVs, and a few pictures of the neighborhood. Enjoy!

In other news: 5 of our group have just left for the opera Aida, which should be good. I've elected to stay in tonight because I'm tired and I've seen the opera before. It's great and I love it, but I need a night off!! The past two days we've been in all-day training for teaching English as a foreign language. That means that our weekend has been reduced to Sunday only--which is a work day here in Egypt! We'll go to church in the morning (which is strange, actually--most people go to church on Friday, the first day of the weekend, and what we did last week), and in the late afternoon is our group reflection/etc time. So I'll have to try to get some Arabic studying in between all that!

You can tell that Cairo is used to foreigners: when we have been out to nicer restaurants (like last night at the Lakeside Cafe in al-Azhar park, and last week at ferfelas) they have menu items marked "vegetarian" and the waiters will often make last-minute changes for you. Last night we used a set menu--people in our group of 20-ish chose from mixed grill (various meats) or veal. When I said I was vegetarian, not only did they come up with a pasta dish that was great, but they asked me precisely how spicy I wanted it. When they brought appetizers, I asked if what they put in front of me was vegetarian, and the waiter immediately looked horrified, said no, and took it away. A minute or so later they brought me one that was all cheese, no meat. (Vegan would probably be harder!) Anyway, it was so nice. Being vegetarian here is not hard at all--especially if you mostly cook for yourself. Fruits and vegetables are abundant, they are local, fresh and beautiful in season, and you can easily wash and cook them. Also, bread is very cheap, the local pita-type bread, called aysh baladi, is government subsidized and costs between 5 and 25 piastres per "loaf" (pita), which is less than 5 cents even at its most expensive. The meat you can buy from a western-style supermarket is "probably" safe, but the meat at the suuk or from street shops and vendors sits out, there are flies everywhere, it's hot and sunny and polluted, and there's no way you could pay me enough to eat meat from one of those places. I would rather die, since eating it would probably give me some horrendous disease that would cause immense pain and a prolonged dying process. ugh.

Anyway, that's enough for today. I need to study a little, and relax more.

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